Written by Ebrahim Ezzy and edited by Richard
MacManus. Ebrahim is lead developer and co-founder of Qelix
Technologies, the company behind a search 2.0 contender called Qube. This is the second in a 2-part series of
In our previous
post we coined the term “Search 2.0”, in order to compare third-generation search
technologies (of, or pertaining to, the current era of social web) with traditional
search engines – to see where the future of search lies.
Even if some of the startups we’re profiling in this series may not survive the next
Internet bust, the underlying ideas are evolutionary and have proven to be effective so
far. We think the ideas showcased by these new social search apps are worth embracing, to
ensure the future growth of the search industry. And, as we note at the end of this post,
the big search companies (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) think so too…
Here then are some further profiles of search 2.0 apps, followed by our analysis of
where the search industry is headed.
While the new generation of search
engines all have great technology, one area of concern is that most have no viable
business model to support their operations. However Gravee is one that does have an interesting business
model. Indeed it is attempting to change the economics of search, by sharing advertising
revenue with the content owners and compensating them for making search results
While this is a potential revenue opportunity for website owners, it doesn’t
provide any visible value to end-users on the search side – apart from pseudo-useful
features like tagging and community-based ranking.
Unique Feature(s): Revenue sharing
Jookster is another community-driven, social search
tool and it works primarily through a browser toolbar or button. It searches through a
user’s bookmarks and other associated sites of interest, derived from the user’s social
network. Essentially, it’s a cross between social networking and search.
Ironically, there are more ads than organic results to almost any query; perhaps the
database is currently very limited due to the lack
of significant user base.
Unique Feature(s): Social networking blended with search
A search engine for developers, Krugle makes it easy to search for technical
information, source code and answers to code-related technical questions. It enables
searching of code samples from open source repositories, archives, mailing lists, blogs
and web pages. It allows tagging, along with sharing of code and sets of search
Krugle delivers the precise help and knowledge that programmers need to solve their
Unique Feature(s): Interactive browsing in code context, Connects
Other similar services: Koders
LivePlasma is a visual music and movie discovery
engine that covers bands, artists, movies, actors and directors – in a multilingual
interface. It features a Flash-based data visualization tool and utilizes mind mapping.
It’s really a recommendation engine, because the aim is to discover similar music and
movies. This may be useful when you’re searching for new music or movies to
Unique Feature(s): Similarity Network Mapping or Mind Mapping, Recommendation engine
Qube is a desktop application that provides
one-click access to search results – without having to use a browser, switch applications
or even enter a keyword. It instantly searches any text already onscreen (or manually
entered) and retrieves results in seconds, while also enhancing the search with features
like real-time spell checker, history logging, dictionary results and more – all without
any performance penalties.
Unique Feature(s): One-Click, Browserless & Progressive Search,
Intelligent Text Capturing
[Disclaimer: Qube is Ebrahim Ezzy’s company]
ZoomInfo scours the web (corporate websites, press
releases, electronic news services, SEC filings and other public online sources) for
people and their contact information. It compiles concise summaries about
individuals and companies, in an organized manner. Social networking tools are available
if you choose to be their customer.
With the growing Web population, there is a significant demand for a ‘people search
engine’. While TSEs like Google already contain large amounts of similar data,
specialized people search engines process the data and present it in a comprehensive
Unique Features(s): Concise web summaries, Social networking
So why use a Search 2.0 app over a TSE?
Traditional search engines are becoming increasingly more precise and expansive,
however they cannot surpass human intelligence. It can only match words, not the meaning
of the ideas discussed within them. Whereas the still-emerging technologies of S-2.0 can
help make search more meaningful, subjective and task-based.
While TSE is good for finding information, S-2.0 is good at
discovering new information at a rapid pace.
S-2.0 enabled data is distributed through the lateral route of a user’s interests – rather than the direct route of TSEs, which require a user to carefully craft his/her query to be an accurate statement of the information desired.
Can search 2.0 replace traditional search, ever?
Like metasearch, current S-2.0 technologies do not replace traditional search engines.
They rather enhance and grow new possibilities. They work in conjunction with TSEs to
provide a more powerful search.
Search 2.0 is rapidly evolving and proliferating, but still can’t compete against
traditional search. We have yet to see an application that blends the capabilities of
Search 2.0 and traditional search synergistically, giving us exactly what we want.
It’s likely that something will eventually replace TSE – perhaps there are two kids
busy working in a garage as we speak, creating a future GYM competitor!
How is traditional search evolving to Search 2.0?
Perhaps a better way to look at this: how is traditional search evolving to become
more personalized and specialized?
Already we’re seeing the big Internet companies moving towards the search 2.0 vision.
Yahoo has a social search play called MyWeb
2.0 and is integrating more and more social
aspects into its search. Google has quietly introduced
bookmarking and tagging for search history and also has aspirations for social
search. Microsoft’s MSN is looking to get
While the intelligence required to conduct social search still resides in people, the
key to harnessing it lies in the network. TSEs have greater opportunities for traction,
with their substantial user bases – a key ingredient of any social network.
So this is more evidence that the latest search revolution is just getting started. Make way for