Even as giants Google and Microsoft Bing made bold search engine moves at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 20 to 22, startups quietly made news of their own. Wowd joins the real-time search ranks, while deep search engine Kosmix buys search startup Cruxlux. Wowd anonymously nominates public Web pages for inclusion in Wowd search results when people visit them. It's Digg without the explicit voting. Cruxlux mines the Web for the relationships between people, places or things. Give Cruxlux any two topics, and it will sniff out the relationships between them and provide URLs to show the links.
The Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 20 to 200 was ripe with search engine news. For
those who missed it, Twitter pledged to let Microsoft Bing and Google serve up its content. Google unveiled Social Search.
Even as the giants made bold moves, startups focused on discovery to make
news of their own. Wowd joined
the real-time search ranks, while search engine Kosmix bought Cruxlux, a small
software maker that charts relationships.
Wowd CEO Mark Drummond launched Wowd as a
public beta onstage at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 20. Drummond said while Google,
Bing and Yahoo are fine search engines, they are not good at helping users find
what's hot and relevant. Wowd focuses on discovery: Users enter queries and the
algorithm returns trends, breaking news, social media topics and popular pages
from around the Web.
Traditional search, he said, starts with the premise that users already know
a bit about the topic they want to search for-they just want to know more, so
they enter the query in the search box, hit enter and wait for results.
"Web 2.0 is conversational in nature," Drummond said. "People
are talking a lot more than they are listening." Specifically, they are
using Twitter, Digg and other social tools to communicate. Users who want to
know what is going on can check those Websites, or go to existing real-time
search engines such as Collecta, CrowdEye and Topsy.
Drummond argued that Wowd is the place users should go to surface that info.
As with Google, Yahoo and Bing, users can enter search queries on the Wowd site
and the service will return results. But Wowd also offers a browser application
users can download. Available for Windows, Linux and Mac machines, this application
enables what the company calls the "Wowd cloud," anonymously
nominating public Web pages for inclusion in Wowd search results when people
Think of it as Digg, albeit without the explicit voting. The more Wowd users
look at certain Web pages, the greater their relevance becomes, which means
those Web pages will bubble up to the top of Wowd before others. The technology
handles trillions of data items and hundreds of millions of users.
The voting system sets it apart from the rest of the real-time gaggle, but
Wowd still has to compete with Bing and Google, which are indexing Twitter
While Wowd focuses on red-hot, real-time discovery, Kosmix focuses on its own brand
of discovery. The search engine does not currently surface info in real time,
though it does let users explore the Web by topic. Moreover, instead of
delivering the status quo of 10 blue links, it provides a dashboard of videos,
photos, news, commentary, communities and links associated with topics users
Kosmix provides universal search, with a serendipitous bent. Kosmix co-founder
Venky Harinarayan met with eWEEK at the event to discuss the company's purchase of Cruxlux.
The startup mines the Web for the relationships between people, places and
things. Give Cruxlux any two topics, and it will sniff out the relationships
between them and provide URLs to show the connections.
The Cruxlux technology will fuel the "Related in the Kosmos"
section on each topic page.
Harinarayan also said while Kosmix has no imminent plans to surface
real-time info, the company is headed in that direction. That's a good thing;
real time defines the pulse of most searchers today.
Real time, of course, formed the crux of the news Microsoft, Google and
Twitter unveiled at the Web 2.0 Summit.