Monday, March 16, 2009

What ever happened to....


I was struck this morning how quickly brands come and go and how easily brands get forgotten. I noticed a new type of search engine, thanks to David McCulloch who had tweeted about Kosmix. This reminded me about all the hype and then not so positive press that was generated around the launch of Cuil. Cuil was going to be the next big thing in search. It clearly isn't/wasn't. I struggled to remember its name and ended up on wikipedia trying to find out what it was called (it's hard to search for something that you don't remember the name of).

Kosmix has, rather sensibly, not tried to claim it will topple Google. This is good for two reason:

1. It would be a foolish claim for such a young product that is still in beta.
2. It seems to rely on Google for most of its searches. Indeed Kosmix would seem to aggregate a series of Google searches and organize them by media type etc. So if they were to kill Google, they'd end up killing themselves.

More seriously, I'm glad to see brands being launched with more realism at a time like this. The people that launched Cuil were ill advised and should have set more realistic goals. We all know that Google is less than perfect and that at some point someone will figure out a better way to deliver search but for now it is the leader by a mile. So if you intend to overtake it, you had better be pretty certain you have what it takes to do so before you start telling people that's your intention.

19 comments:

Pinny said...

Tim, I think you've alighted upon something with real potential. The search engine for things that you can remember the name of. I'd use it all the time.

Search terms to include phrases like "that thing", "sort of", "somewhere in...", "like the other thing but different"...

Lovely.

Jodi Olson said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Tim.

At Kosmix, we see Search and Browse as two very different ways to navigate the Web. Cuil's brand of “David and Goliath” positioning against Google doesn’t interest us because we think Google is a great tool for search. The truth is there's little room to improve on what they already do so well.

Kosmix is all about exploration, and we address a different problem from search engines. Go to Google when you want a phone number or to find a specific Web site. Come to Kosmix when you want to browse a topic, learn more, or discover something new.

We're still in early days (Kosmix just launched in December), so expect more to come from us in the next year. You always have such an insightful take on these things, Tim, that I'd love to hear more of your thoughts and feedback. If there's one thing I can count on from my wonderful old friends at Next Fifteen/Text 100, it's smart opinions and good ideas!

All the best,
Jodi

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