Monday, November 29, 2004



Meant to post this a couple weeks ago, and now SEW and Corante have gotten the word out: Babelplex is a new tool that allows you to search side by side results in two languages.

This is the first search based project for Babelplex's author, HK Tang. Born in Hong Kong and educated at the University of Washington, Tang tells me "For Babelplex, I've realized if you simplify search down to the simplest equation there are two sides. Output which Google has solidly nailed down, and input which is very relevant when searching in foreign text. I've observed users who are limited by the language of their keyboard would use Yahoo! Directory rather than Google Search to find International pages. Also, my family is bilingual, so that has some influence on the inception of Babelplex."

More "Fishing" and Multimedia Search


What is is with "fishing" and multimedia search? Earlier today we posted about a new beta at Singingfish, AOL's multimedia search site. The new Singingfish slogs is, "It's a Strange World. Fish It." Instead of clicking a "search" or "find" button, you'll click the "Fish It" button. SingingFish crawls the open web looking for multimedia content.

Beginning Monday, SingingFish will not be the only "fish" site doing multimedia searching.
today's Merc (and on his Silicon Beat blog yesterday) Michael Bazeley lets us know about that will officially launch on Monday.

Think of it as a meta/federated shopping search site that allows you to find material from, "Napster,, iTunes and a host of other online music merchants."

As Michael puts it, "It functions in much the same way as comparison shopping sites, which aggregate feeds of product information from online retailers. GoFish pulls in catalog feeds from music sellers, grouping them into a searchable index."

GoFish will generate revenue by earning a 9 percent to 15 percent commission from merchants for every sale it sends to a merchant. Bazeley also reports that GoFish management hopes to partner with a "second-tier" engine before the end of the year.

Could GoSingingFish be in the works?

New Singingfish Beta Web Site Online


Singingfish, the multimediamedia search tool (owned by AOL), is online with a new beta version of their site. Old interface is still available here.

- New Slogan: "It's a Strange World. Fish It""Fish It" is a trademarked.

- New interface allows you to "save searches" (cookie based)

- Email search queries

- Toggle "advanced features" on/off main interface

- Toggle "saved searches" feature on/off main interface

- New button labeled "I'm Bored" allows you to ," play something guaranteed to make you say, 'huh.'"

- View recent searches, popular searches, and staff favorites

- Button to run a search is now labeled, "Fish It."

New Web Search Engine From Australia Coming Next Week

From is reporting that Australia-based Ansearch will officially launch, next week.

The article includes a bit of detail on plans in terms of ranking and crawl.

- Quality of data: focus on a relatively small list of the most popular websites in the world rather than those with the most number of websites linking to them

- Ranking: based on usage rather than link farm size.
- Focus on a site versus pages: IE's Geocities will feature in its database only once, rather than the extensive network of millions of free pages / Web sites that are found within Google. This will result in a natural tendency to feature more business/commerce sites.
- Top sites index: a listing of top Web sites updated and ranked regularly.
- Small data footprint: allows for a daily update of the top-ranked Web sites, as opposed to updates every six weeks.

Ansearch will generate revenue via cpc and offering enteprise search services. There are three other revenue streams that will be revealed in Quarter Four, 2005. "To the best of our knowledge, no other search engine -- global or Australian -- is addressing these other areas." --Louise Williams, marketing manager, Ansearch.

Mamma Has Plans to Acquire Copernic

From, the Montreal-based metasearch engine has signed a letter-of-intent to acquire Copernic.

Copernic, also a Canadian company, offers several desktop and enterprise search apps including Copernic Desktop Search. Here's our review.

Other products Copernic offers include a metasearch client app
(Copernic Agent), a free toolbar that allows you to add any search engine to it with a single click (Copernic Meta Toolbar), and summarization software.

About a month ago Copernic created a seperate company, Conveo Solutions, to market its enterprise search software.

According to the announcement, the plan is to close this transaction in the first quarter of 2005.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Top Search Engine Toolbars Reviewed

CNet reviews the top 7 search engine toolbars and looks at compatibility and features.

Ebrary: search and PDF enhancer


Ebrary takes PDF versions of publications -- typically supplied by publishers -- rips them apart and reconstructs them so they can be entered into a searchable database. A downloadable piece of software called the ebrary Reader embeds itself into Web browsers and allows users to view the documents, aided by a bevy of features not available in standard PDF readers.

Clicking on a word within an ebrary document, for example, triggers a pop-up menu that allows you to highlight text, look up the word in a dictionary, or search for it within the document, the ebrary database or the entire Web.

Ebrary's been around for nearly six years, but the company has grown tremendously in the past year or so. Its collection now totals 50,000 to 60,000 titles, from books and reports to journals and sheet music.

The 30-person company is privately held and is partially funded by three major publishers, Random House Ventures, Pearson and McGraw-Hill.

New Search Engine: Creative Commons


“The Creative Commons search engine helps companies, educators, and artists find content they can re-use without having to call a lawyer, and it offers authors and artists who want to share their work a competitive advantage toward having their work discovered online,” said Neeru Paharia, assistant director of Creative Commons and the search engine’s product manager.

For example, a documentary filmmaker could use the Creative Commons engine to search for “images of the Eiffel Tower free for noncommercial use,” and incorporate any or all of the many photographs indexed. A DJ seeking songs free to remix or mash-up could browse listings of MP3s by their legal terms. An entrepreneur seeking illustrations for her slideshow presentation could reduce costs and liability by using a Creative Commons image-specific search. An educator building course materials could include texts and videos found by the engine.

What distinguishes the Creative Commons engine from other search services is that all of the above are possible without the hassle of rights-clearance, licensing requests, or royalty payments.

At the core of the Creative Commons search engine are two key innovations, one legal and one technological. First, Creative Commons offers authors and artists a simple, standardized way to mark their work as free to share or transform, on certain conditions. By applying a Creative Commons copyright license and (cc) notice to her work, an author invites the world to make certain uses of it without giving up her copyright. Rather than the traditional “all rights reserved,” a Creative Commons license declares “some rights reserved.”

Second, and complimentary to this free legal tool, is Creative Commons machine-readable translation of the copyright licenses. When an author affixes the (cc) copyright notice to her webpage or MP3 or image file, it is automatically marked with Creative Commons “metadata” as well. It is this metadata -- akin to a library catalog card describing a particular book -- that the Creative Commons search engine then reads, processes, and presents to users as it crawls the web for their search requests.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Wondir, very familiar model

Wondir is a question-answer service still in beta. John Battelle just interviewed its founder, Matthew Koll.

I was amazed to learn that Wondir's strategy is practically an exact copy of our initial vision. First of all, they realized that depth and scale come from focusing on vertical markets (groups) first, so they sold the service to, and icerocket. Secondly, they came up with a model that shares AdSense advertising with the answerer. Thirdly, they incorporated a reputation system that ranks answerers based on a 5 stars model.

John Battelle seems to like the model a lot. He even envisions the top 5 "search" gurus sharing a Wondir platform to provide their readers with answers and make money doing it. Does it sound familiar? I am pleased to know the model is appealing enough to have John excited about using a new product to help his community and get paid.

Here is John Battelle's article:

Monday, November 22, 2004

Personalized information (sci-fi)

Robin Sloan produced a clever Flash movie called "EPIC 2004" speculating about the future of personalized news and information. Worth watching.

Findory Begins Personalizing Web Search Results

They basically rearrange Google results based on your history. Example:

- Search for "Incredibles"
- Click on the IMDB link (fourth down)
- Search for "Nemo".
- The IMDB page on Finding Nemo will be highlighted and popped up to the top slot.

It takes the Eurekster concept to the next level but is still not very reliable. If the link you clicked on is not good, the system will still use it to rearrange your results. In any case, I like the idea of trying to present something better without asking users to do something different from what they normally do.

Blinkx trying to raise £20m, fire co-funder


IT IS just as well Kathy Rittweger knows all about “search”. After a bust-up at Blinkx, the internet search company she founded, the engaging American entrepreneur is looking for a new job. Unfortunately, Kathy has fallen out with her partner, Suranga Chandratillake, the former technology whiz at Autonomy.

Blinkx appears to have conducted its own intuitive search for Rittweger’s replacement. Mark Opzoomer, who used to run Yahoo in Europe, was appointed chief executive only days after Rittweger gave an upbeat interview to The Times. In an e-mail, Rittweger told us: “I have left Blinkx. But I’m bound by confidentiality and cannot discuss the ‘why’.”

Opzoomer has been brought in to help the firm raise £20m. In the wake of Google’s soaring share price, search engines are hot, and Blinkx wants its share of the investment dollars.
Opzoomer kept a low profile at Yahoo. His CV strangely omits his time as co-chief executive of Talkcast Corporation, one of the most ill-considered and chaotic flowerings of the dotcom boom. This is a big claim, but Prufrock has it on good authority — our financial editor, Paul Durman, once worked for Opzoomer there.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Google releases Deskbar API

From Google's PR:

Today, Google announced the availability of the Google Deskbar API(application programming interface). This technology makes it possible forsoftware developers to build their own features, or plug-ins, for thepopular Google Deskbar.

For instance, a developer could use Google Deskbar APIs to create a moviesearch command that enables users to search their favorite movie site byentering a movie name into the Deskbar search field and typing a specialcommand such as "Ctrl'M." Other examples include:
- Locate and play a music play list on your hard drive

- Solve algebraic equations
- Send instant messages from the Deskbar (example: type "AIM- [screen name] [message text]")

Results will be displayed within the Google Deskbar mini-browser whichappears to the bottom right of the user's computer. New features developedwith the Google Deskbar API will be displayed as an option in the Deskbar main menu.

The Google Deskbar API is in the experimental, beta phase. We invitedevelopers to use the service and encourage them to send us their input andfeedback. Plug-ins can be written in any .NET language, such as C# or VisualBasic.NET. More information about the Google Deskbar API can be found here:

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ask Jeeves & Yahoo Next With Desktop Search Products?


Matt Weeks reports confirmation from Ask Jeeves that they will launch their desktop search in December. While Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves hasn't provided many details, its product appears likely to follow the approach of other Web search engines by combining hard-drive results, such as from e-mails and files, with its core Web results.

And what about Yahoo? According to Tim Mayer, director of product management for Yahoo Search..."We feel the desktop is important, and we want to provide a full search experience," Mayer said. "It's a strategic entry point, and a lot of [Web] search is about distribution."

"Google Scholar" is Born

In a nutshell, Google has built an algorithm that makes a calculated guess at to *what it thinks* is a scholarly content mined from the OPEN WEB, and then makes it accessible via the Google Scholar interface.

In addition, Google has been working with major publications to index content behind password protected sites.

Good article from

Overture Extends Deal With Microsoft As MS Builds Its Own Technology


A news release let's us know that Overture has extended their relationship with Microsoft through June, 2006.

Under the terms of the extension, Overture will continue to provide its sponsored search results to MSN sites in the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Asia. The previous agreement ran through June 2005.

The WSJ is reporting (subscribers only) reports that Microsoft is building its own technology. A portion of the article is available here.

- Microsoft also is building its own ad-placement technology, which could allow it one day to displace Yahoo, according to people familiar with the matter.
- The people familiar with the matter said Microsoft expects to release a test version of its ad-placement system by the second half of next year. But it remains unclear whether, or when, Microsoft plans to replace the Yahoo-provided ads with its own. The contract extension suggests Microsoft doesn't think its own system will be ready by the middle of next year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Searching for Real Time Information


If search engines have an Achilles heel, it's that the crawling process lags the content creation process. While content from some sites appears quickly in search engines, it takes up to a month for crawlers to do a comprehensive refresh of all new web content. This means that all search engines, no matter how comprehensive, are to one degree or another out of date.

Today's SearchDay article,
Managing the Firehose of Real-Time Information, focuses on PubSub, a service that monitors blogs, SEC filings, Newsgroup postings and other sources, and matches your keyword based queries against those sources in real-time. It's a great "prospective" tool for supplementing the "retrospective" results you get with search engines. It's also a terrific early warning system for new sources of information that you might miss using other tools, such as feed aggregators or blog search engines. Definitely worth a look. to Display Google AdWords

More and more B2C sites are adding Google AdWords despite risking traffic to click away from their sites. Interestingly, PPC revenue must be high enough to justify some cannibalization. This is a good trend to keep in mind when people say that SEA will jeopardize their business.


This is an interesting announcement. will start showing Google AdWords on its web site.This is a growing trend among large B2C web sites, but why would a company, that is trying to generate its own sales, tempt visitors to leave and potentially visit a competitor's site. Shouldn't be focussing on keeping visitors at their own site, instead of cannibalizing their own sales?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

New search related patents

List of latest search patents:

Personalized search methods including combining index entries for categories of personal dataAssignee: Ask Jeeves, Inc.Awarded: November 9, 2004

System and method for mobile electronic messagingAssignee: YahooAwarded: November 2, 2004

Method and computer program product for color coding search resultsAssignee: IBMAwarded: October 26, 2004

Method and apparatus for query-specific book marking and data collectionAssignee: HPAwarded: October 26, 2004NOTE: Krishna Bharat, now a Google employee (and a principal architect of Google News), is listed as inventor.

Method and apparatus for finding information on the internetAssignee: IBMAwarded: October 5, 2004

System for creation of visual representation of dataAssignee: Plumb DesignAwarded: October 5, 2004NOTE: Plum Design, now known as Thinkmap, offers

Method for scoring documents in a linked database Assignee: Stanford UniversityAwarded: September 28, 2004Note: Google co-founder Larry Page is listed as the inventor. This is a continuation of this patent, awarded in 2001.

Metasearch technique that ranks documents obtained from multiple collectionsAssignee: NextPageAwarded: September 21, 2004

Automatically initiating an internet-based search from within a displayed documentAssignee: IBMAwarded: August 31, 2004

System and method for rapid completion of data processing tasks distributed on a networkAssignee: Overture ServicesAwarded: August 10, 2004

Method and apparatus to restrict free hyperlinking by internet content distributors to web sites of original content producersAssignee: IBMAwarded: August 3, 2004

Google CEO: The Next Killer Device Is A GooglePod


At a tech summit at Google HQ yesterday, Eric Schmidt talked about a "killer" info tool he's thinking about, let's call it the GooglePod.

The next killer device is a clearly a personal one,'' Schmidt said. "The one I personally favor is putting all the world's information into the equivalent of an iPod, which will be possible in the next five to 10 years. And if you can't quite do that, your wireless connection will help you get what you need.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Rojo adds "tagging"

Rojo (an online social network company) is adding the "tagging" feature to its platform. Based on the success of and flickr, they decided to let members tag content as they surf the net. They claim tags will enhance the ability for groups to share information. They also claim tags will enable to do some reputation tricks.

They only offer the service by invitation. I'll test their service as soon as they send me the invite.

Full story:


Blinkx 2.0 Now Available

From PC Advisor:

This weekend saw the release of a new version of the Blinkx search software, which now creates special folders in users' PCs about specific topics and automatically populates them with documents grabbed from users' hard drives and from the internet. The feature, called Smart Folders, is the highlight of Blinkx 2.0, the newest version of this internet and desktop search tool, which is available as a free download from the start-up company's website at

Blinkx 2.0 also has a feature called SIS, an acronym for the phrase Stuff I've Seen, which maintains a record of viewed files. Blinkx 2.0 also adds support for querying peer-to-peer networks.

I just downloaded the new version. I'll spend some time time testing it out. Stay tuned.

An Early Look at MSN Desktop Search


Tom Warren over at Neowin has just posted an early look (loaded with screenshots) at MS's desktop search product and the toolbar/deskbar suite that is scheduled for release in the next six weeks.

Chris wrote in his
MSN Search article last week:"I've seen a demo of the desktop search application and am impressed with its capabilities but a non-disclosure agreement prohibits me from writing anything more about it until it's actually released."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Linux seller gunning for search

Linux seller Linspire has embedded search capabilities into its newly upgraded operating system in an effort to make looking for news or products as easy as highlighting a word on a Web page or e-mail.
Full article:

More reasons for focused search engines


Following you will find a list of reasons why specialized/focused search tools (verticals) can be very useful:

- the average query length is about 2.8,
- most searchers don't use any advanced syntax
- search skills haven't improved that much in the past few years
- there is little to no use of controlled vocabulary (to help bring like things together)
- many searchers only look at the first few results on a serpand other issues further complicates the situation.

In addittion, here is a chart from about the invisible web:

Thursday, November 11, 2004

8 billion pages

Google has raised the stakes in the search engine size wars by claiming an index of 8 billion pages. Microsoft had planned to seize the title of biggest search engine by announcing 5 billion pages indexed today. That would have put it above the 4.2 billion mark Google has self-reported for about a year.


MSN search engine: a google killer? Not

After months of speculation and two "preview" releases, Microsoft has taken the wraps off of its new MSN search engine, the first major competitor to join the big leagues of web search in nearly a year.

Here are two good reviews:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 secures $10M investment from Benchmark Capital is a good example of a search engine that focused on developing an index for a vertical market. They succeded in creating the best index for business professionals.

Their growth is evident in the compounded annual revenue growth rate of over 150% over the past 4 years coupled with profitability and positive cash flow for the past 18 months.

Press release:

Dogpile's New Enhancements


IntelliFind builds on Dogpile metasearch's unique ability to search more of the Web by analyzing the likely intent behind every query and intelligently searching the sources most likely to return the best results. By limiting the sources queried to those most likely to contain the best-matched content, Dogpile now returns an even higher concentration of more accurate results to end users.

IntelliFind also extends Dogpile metasearch beyond leading engines such as Google, Yahoo! and AskJeeves to pull relevant results from a variety of vertical content sources such as white pages, news, audio, video and images. Results from these content sources are reported at the top of results pages, above the Web search results, for easy access. Building on this functionality, Dogpile also today announced new vertical content partnerships with and Singingfish.

MSN to tempt bloggers with sharing ad revenue?


Susan Mernit blogs that MSN Network GM told Mark Glaser how Microsoft might work with bloggers in the future...

"If you're a blogger, MSN might come to you and say, 'We want to distribute you. We'll send you traffic and we want you to run these ads on your site, and you'll get a share of revenues on that. That's probably an offer that many bloggers are going to be interested in because they don't want to have to invest in creating that kind of infrastructure, and they would value the traffic."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Microsoft to Preview New Search Engine on 11/11

From AP:

REDMOND, Wash. Nov 9, 2004 — Microsoft Corp., stepping up its efforts to compete with rival Google Inc., will offer consumers a preview of its technology for searching the Internet, beginning Thursday.

New search tool for computer code

Koders is a search engine for source code. It enables developers to easily search and browse source code in thousands of projects hosted at hundreds of open source repositories.

Internet Users Want a Voice


In its latest study of Americans' online habits, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that a substantial chunk of internet users want to voice their opinions online. Websites that want to remain relevant should strongly consider building in ratings systems that allow visitors to leave input about what they find on the site.

More than 33 million Americans, or a quarter of all adult internet users in the country, have rated a product or service, the study said, underscoring the value of ratings systems that give users input about content or products they find online.

One of the most interesting findings for website operators is that the survey "speaks to a large number of online Americans who are interested in contributing," said Lee Rainey, a director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

As part of its ongoing project, Pew recently distributed a questionnaire asking whether individuals took part in online rating, or reputation, systems. The most recent study follows a previous
report that showed that 44 percent of American adults had contributed thoughts or content online.

Rainey said the new study shows that a growing number of Americans want to have their opinions heard online, and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. Thus, an increasing number of commercial sites are following the lead long since set by, eBay and others that allow users to weigh in on the value or reputations of products or other users of the service.

And while it's possible for users to game such reputation systems, Rainey said, the systems' value cannot be underestimated.

Online advertising to double by 2007

According to ClickZ, a survey from the American Advertising Federation reports that industry leaders expect online advertising to double by 2007.

Keyword Prices Rise, But Only In Some Categories


Fathom Online's Keyword Price Index showed a 14 percent rise from September, with the average price per keyword jumping from $1.37 to $1.55.

Keywords in the consumer services category showed the strongest rise, while a number of categories actually showed decreases. In terms of actual cost (as opposed to percentage change), the mortgage category had the biggest rise, a $1.14 hike. Fathom attributes that to competition to gain new accounts when interest rates on 30 year mortgages dipped in October, in the US.

UI article

Here is a good article from that talks about the importance of user interface. It makes good analogies between Google and Ipod.

It also mentions "speech recognition" as the next breakthrough in UI.


Vivisimo, Clusty, A9, AllTheWeb, Snap collectively get 0.1% of US Web users

According to Hitwise, one out of every 14 U.S. internet visits during the week ended Oct. 30 went to the top 10 search engines, a 7 percent increase over the same period a year ago, the week ended Nov. 1, 2003. This is so despite the heavily hyped launches of five new engines:,,, and Users are not switching in appreciable numbers. Those five sites combined make up only about one-tenth of 1 percent of U.S. internet visits in Hitwise’s Search Engines and Directories category, leaving the big three largely responsible for search’s growth.

Local Search and Pay-Per-Call Technology


The Forbes article: Search Engines Go Local, offers an overview of the local search scene, and focuses on Ingenio, the company providing the pay-per-call technology for FindWhat's new service.

Ingenio plans to start a job that Google started but didn't fully finish. Under Google's pay-per-click advertising model, advertisers pay only after users have clicked on the ad. Ingenio is going after a model it describes as pay-per-call.

The results, [Marc] Barach [Ingenio's chief marketing officer] says, are pretty promising. "What we have found so far is that businesses are willing to pay ten times more for leads generated over the phone than for leads generated from a Web site.

Investors in Ingenio include eBay and Vulcan Ventures.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Onfolio offering a new beta


Internet information organizing software Onfolio has announced that it's got a new beta coming up. This new version offers Firefox support (woot!) and an RSS reader.


Mary Hodder takes a first step at establishing the core values that determine reputation for publishers.

1. transparency of relationships and motivations for writing and linking

2. transparency of identity, including pseudonymous writing

3. excellence of content—by which I mean writers honestly writing what they believe, even if it turns out to be untrue in the iterative process, versus publishing known untruths

4. editorial independence

5. linking for attribution of ideas

Full article:

BellSouth, SBC Buy


The two companies have agreed to acquire YellowPages.Com Inc., an independently owned online directory publisher, for slightly less than $100 million, according to people close to the situation.

The new jointly owned entity will be called, which the companies plan to fashion into a nationwide online directory expected to draw more than 50 million online consumer searches a month, the companies said.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

New search engine: Speegle

Here is a fun search engine. It reads results back to the user with a Scottish accent. What's next?

Overture considering flat rate pricing


I've written before that we'll see a move away from bidding on keywords in favor of paying for leads, regardless of the terms used by those leads/searchers to find us. Now Overture says it's something they are considering: flat rate pricing to make search easier for small and medium sized businesses. More from this ClickZ article, Yahoo!'s Overture Looks At Simpler Models to Court Advertisers.

I can see that coming -- just as I can see flat rate pricing making life easier for big advertisers, as well. If you're Nike, and you want to be tops for shoes, writing a big giant check for guaranteed top placement makes a lot more sense that trying to manage thousands of keywords. It'll come.

Looksmart partnering with UpSNAP to offer mobile search


UpSNAP, the SMS-based search tool Chris wrote about last month has announced a partnership with Looksmart.
The company [UpSNAP] will offer its customers a new way to extend their reach off-line and directly to consumers via text-enabled cell phones under a pay-per-click/call model...Until today, consumers had to pay to find merchants in the cellular world," said Tony Philipp, President and CEO of UpSNAP!. "UpSNAP! reverses this model. Consumers can contact merchants for free, and local merchants can now take advantage of a performance-driven advertising model even without a web presence. LookSmart, with its large base of advertisers and flexible paid listings platform, was the obvious partner to work with to power this advertising service...For the first time, advertisers have a performance-based revenue model via text-messaging on cellular telephones. is a good example of the model I presented last night. is a news aggregator that uses a cool model to deliver news for very targeted areas like "search engines", or "social software".

They first identify authorities in a specific space, it could be online newspapers, news agencies or bloggers. Then, they subscribe to their feeds and aggregate the content into a single feed for that space (e.g. "search engines"). The result is a single place for the most relevant news about a topic.

By the way, they are on a roll. The recently signed parternships with Yahoo, AskJeeves, CitySearch and

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

AOL eyes personal search

AOL could be a great partner. Here is the scoop.


"We're very focused on search as a company," Campbell said. "We're moving very aggressively in defining new ways for people to search, interact with and store information. It's a gigantic part of the company's focus. There's lots more to come."

One logical area for AOL to move towards in search is personalization, or giving users the capability to customize their search activities, save queries and manage, manipulate and store results, he said. "Personalization is on the horizon. That's a given," he said.

At this stage in the game, it's clear personal search is an interesting space, but it has yet to be proven if it's truly useful for users, Campbell said. While recognizing that competitors such as Yahoo Inc., Inc. and Ask Jeeves (
Profile, Products, Articles) Inc. have made strong moves in personal search recently, Campbell said users can expect AOL to follow suit "in a few months."

As a media company that specializes in establishing tight links with its clients through a broad palette of online services and content, AOL is in a very good position to leverage its customers' interest in search and provide a distinct search experience to them, Campbell said. "We sit at the central spot where we can bring together the worlds of our (Web) users and (online service) members and the media assets we have and the content on the Web," he said.

This is why now at AOL, search is called "the perfect business," Campbell said.

"It's perfect because AOL's legacy of being very consumer, member-centric is well served at the same time the revenue model is well served. When members find what they're looking for, they're happy, and most of the time they're looking for things that can be monetized. There's a tremendous focus on this company at doing this," he said.

Yahoo works on desktop search

From Reuters:

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Terry Semel said on Monday that the Internet media company is working on a desktop search program that would help people find information stored on their computer hard drives.

Desktop search is the latest battlefield in Yahoo's ongoing rivalry with Web search leader Google Inc. (GOOG.O:
Quote, Profile, Research) and others.

"Yahoo is working on it. In short course, we'll have a desktop solution as well," Semel said at an investment conference in Scottsdale, Arizona which was broadcast over the Internet. He did not say specifically when Yahoo's desktop search program would be released.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Venture capitalists accelerate fund-raising in third quarter


Venture capitalists raised $5.5 billion for future investments during the third quarter, continuing a recent upturn that reflects renewed optimism about the financial future for fledgling companies.

The amount of venture capital raised from investors during the three months ended in September more than doubled the $2 billion collected during the same time last year, according to statistics released Monday. The third-quarter volume also marked a 78 percent increase from the $3.1 billion raised during the second quarter.

The data, compiled by the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Venture Economics, offer the latest signs that venture capital investment is ready to blossom again after several years of listlessness brought on by the dot-com bust.

Through the first nine months of the year, venture capitalists have raised $11.2 billion, already surpassing the $10.5 billion that the industry took in during all of 2003.

Venture capitalists also are on a pace to invest more money than they did last year.

Blog Search Engine and IceRocket Search have partnered to bring cell phone pic blogs


Blog Search Engine and IceRocket Search have partnered to bring cell phone pic blogs, or MoBlogs, into the search engine world with a new search feature which produces image results of the latest MoBlogs images available. Blog Search Engine has over 10,000 blogs indexed in its blog directory and this new feature gives them a jump on other cutting edge search engines in the blogging world. The partnership between the two companies utilizes IceRocket search technology to serve search results from TextAmerica blog entries - a MoBlog only blog hosting service.

The 1-2-3 must have for the next killer app

Here is a very good article from Jeremy Zawodny about the three most important things to have in mind when developing a service for the new Web:

- do something useful really really well
- put the user in control by allowing access to your data and services in an easy and unrestricted way
- share the wealth

The power of the "long tail"

Greg wrote a nice article about personalization and the long tail. It explains how retail benefited from the "feedback/behavior watching" mechanisms. More than 50% of Amazon's sales come outside the most popular 130K titles. And 60% of Netflix's sales come from recommendations.

These are great indications that the "long tail" is a very powerful source of content.


A9 toolbar now available for Firefox


Amazon's A9 has released a version of their toolbar for Firefox. Until now, the toolbar was only avaiable for IE.

Google plans desktop search tool for Apple PCs

From Reuters:

Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to release a version of its desktop search tool for computers running on the Mac operating system from Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said on Friday.

Schmidt did not set a timetable for a Mac version of Google Desktop, saying it had to be rebuilt from the ground up because of the fundamental differences between the Mac OS and Windows.