February 11, 2007
About Those Web 2.0 Names
Check out this list of the top search engines. The search market is growing, particularly among verticals. There are more and more players entering this space, all trying to grab whatever share they can from Yahoo and Google.
Every now and then, I have this reality check of Silicon Valley start-up life. I'll suddenly remember that I live in a world of names that make no sense and that I am now almost too familiar with language that falls on deaf ears among the masses (mashups, tagging, unconferences, ajax, RSS, vlogs, etc)
On this top 25 search engine list are names that use the modular functionality of Web 2.0 but apparently mash together several services and features that differentiate them from the next guy. Unfortunately, in too many cases they all start to blend together.
Despite the fact that start-up language IS part of my vocabulary, what is most interesting about this list is without a doubt the names they have chosen. If you're not laughing or at least smiling after reading the list, then you really are too close to the biz. Or don't have a sense of humor.
Apologies to any who really take offense to my comments below but c'mon guys, if you can't joke about the reality of some of these names and roll with it, you're going to have a hard time pitching or defending it once it comes up with 'mainstream consumers' who don't know what tags, mashups or ajax is.
1. Ajaxwhois -- a cleaning solution or character from a commercial??? Because of course regular people understand what Ajax is.
2. FlickrStorm - a mashup for flickr images - of course that made sense, why wouldn't it?
3. FundooWeb - now this one is a MULTI-mashup, not just a mashup, presented in multiple formats.
4. Keotag - okay, name availability is really getting slim here. I didn't get its differentiator at all but I'm sure someone does...?
5. Whonu - okay, this one tops #4. So while it sounds like the name I gave my stuffed whale when I was ten, it is touted as one of the first semantic web search engines available, with over 300 search sources, so the good news is that I at least understand why its unique.
6. similicio.us - yeah, I'll remember how to say and spell this one....in the year 2050. The suggestion is for them to team up with del.icio.us so they can access their full database and engine.
7. Huckabuck - this one sounds friendly enough, like a search engine from Kansas, who will walk you home after a burger and milkshake at the diner.
8. Kartoo - short for cartoon in another language?? This site apparently partitions results into several categories, where the data is presented in clusters mostly using Flash. Where's my (the consumer) value-add? Who writes these descriptions anyway?
9. KwMap - a mapping system from Jupiter? Nope, a keyword map for the WHOLE Internet, not just part of it, hence the capital K of course. Or is it really a search engine for chemical elements? FeMap for Iron, etc.
10. Mnemomap - you have to admit that this explanation is the EASIEST to understand for the average reader/user. If you spend any time trying to get clarity admist Silicon Valley Web 2.0 noise, you HAVE to be laughing now. This is worse than the Internal Revenue Code, says my accountant.
"Mnemomap uses multiple components to display search results. Topmost is a hierarchical graph with nodes branching off the search term. Non-clickable secondary nodes are "Token," "Tags", "Translations" and "Synonyms". Tertiary nodes are search results and can have either a tight relationship to the original search term or a tenuous relationship. Clicking on a tertiary node either adds it to a bar below for a refined search, or produces a new graph, depending on where you click."
But of course. Why didn't you just say so?
11. PreFound is powered by Eurekster and apparently has some similarities to our Kansas search pal Huckaback, but a side panel also includes settings for music, movies, TV, xBox, etc., instead of search engines. Are they after consumers here? If so, then why force them to register and why call it a 'social search equalizer?'
12. Quintura - at least this one, I'm likely to be able to pronounce it before 2050. They have funding (not sure how much or from whom), but I can at least get a visual in my head about how this works. Holding your mouse cursor long enough over a term in the cloud causes new, related terms to appear in the vicinity of the cursor.
13. Ujiko - we're back to a name that reminds us that 'everything that makes sense' in English is already taken. Is this a sushi search engine? Nope. Ujiko has an interface reminiscent of some sort of a video game, presenting results in both a central circle as well as in rows surrounding the circle. Okay but why do I need this? I'd rather have a sushi search engine.
14. Tagnautica - sounds like the name of a boat I'd run into on the bitter shores of the Arctic, but they're playing on the fact that everyone in the world knows what a tag is, right?? :-)
15. Topix - finally something that makes sense, but they have been around for awhile and the name is actually related to part of what they do. Then again, Amazon, Google and Yahoo have proved that this isn't necessary..........but at least I can actually pronounce them.
16. Clipfire - this also makes sense and is catchy. While some in the Valley think marketing and PR is dead, humans still gravitate to great names and established brands that they trust. There's an ecommerce deal-finding search engine built into this one that apparently Arrington likes. They remind us that "sometimes all you need is a simple interface; it's the members that matter here." YES SIR. Simple user interface, simple language and simple explanation of why I should care. And PLEASE simpler names that make sense.
17. Omgili - ooops, I spoke too soon on requesting names that made sense.....This one is a discussion-based engine. Recommendation engines such as Omgili have their value in end applications, possibly those similar to the music recommendation site iLike (not to be confused with shopping engine, like). I can see where people could use this, particuarly if the UI is easy to navigate.
18. Like - Like is a "visual shopping" engine that starts off with images of products. Click on an image to get an array of related product images. Use the interface to select a focus area of one image to find similar products by shape or color, i.e., sunglasses. Like also lets you filter brands and price ranges. I like this one. LikeReally. LikeWhatever. LikeYaKnow.
19. Pixsy is a visual search engine for pictures or videos selected from several sources including Buzznet, flickr, iStockphoto, Fotolia, YouTube, and others. Cool IF the accuracy and relevancy is there.
20. Retrievr - something you'd say to your dog? Oh, okay retrieve a word or phrase, ah, I got it. With a silent e.
21. Riya - a name I'm now used to since they are not new. While the name has a great flow, I still hear people in the Valley mispronounce it. They have changed their focus since they first launched....a bit like Like, you can search amongst people, objects, tags, and photos, as well in Google, Yahoo, MSN, and flickr.
22. Tiltomo - a code word? Something you'd say when you jump off a diving board? A board game? Nope, another flickr mashup that allows you to enter a single flickr tag or ask for random images.
23. Xcavator - YET another flickr-based engine.....how many of these will people really use? I guess VCs must ask those questions, right? Another silent e. Googl. Bay. nough alrady.
24. Liveplasma is a music and video search and discovery engine tied to Amazon.com. Enter an artist, band, movie, director, or actor of interest, and up pops an unusual result set paradigm: floating spheres clustered in overlapping orbits. Liverplasma would be a little more evocative.
25. VDoogle -- definitely something I could have named my dog when I was ten. This one is a video search engine that draws its sources from 14 video sharing sites such as YouTube and DailyMotion, as well as veteran sites such as iFilm.
A cheerful reminder to the founders of the above gigs, don't take this all too personally. As the Aussies say, its all in good fun.
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Hello! We will greatly appreciate if you help us improve our brand. Quintura strives to bring searchers the quintessence or pure essence of search. Please check out visual search for kids at http://kids.quintura.com and let us know your views.
Posted by: Yakov | Feb 11, 2007 3:38:46 PM
Posted by: Ribin | Feb 11, 2007 10:17:29 PM
The Equalizer on the PreFound.com site allows registered users to put in their interests and then PreFound.com will use those interests to personalize their search. The user can put anything they want into the Equalizer. What you saw were just examples of subjects that can be put in. The user has complete control of the Equalizer and can put in any subjects, tags, etc., turn the sliders up and down or turn it off completely. Please review the "learn more" sections of the site for more information. PreFound.com does not require registration to use the site, only to use the Equalizer and to share contect. Searching with PreFound.com does not require any registration.
Posted by: Steve | Feb 12, 2007 11:21:22 AM