While catching up with my tweets today, I ran into this interesting article from Searchviews, dealing with a possible future competition for Google. It seems that Rich Skrenta, co-founder of news site Topix and the Open Directory Project, and the inventor of the first computer virus, is decided to “harm” the good old — by now — Google’s supremacy with a new search engine.
The name of the baby engine, still in its conception, is chosen: Blekko. All you can see at Blekko now is only that it’s awake and put its “socks” on, obviously preparing for the road of its coming into existence. So, what Blekko stands for? Skrenta challenges the idea of Google’s precision and ability to draw a clear picture of what’s out there on the web. In Skrenta’s own words — cited from his most recent weblog entry:
The web is big. Really, really big. It’s literally billions and billions of pages. It’s Carl Sagan big. And it’s doubling in size every year or two.
So the idea that what you can see in positions 1-3 above the fold on Google are the sum of what the web has to say about every possible query is crazy.
And yet they have 85%+ market share, and little effective competition. At the same time there is such a fabulous business in search. It’s the highest monetization service on the web, by far. Why does this Coke have no Pepsi?
Skrenta covers his sayings with proof. In a December entry on his weblog he talks about how bad can PageRank — one of the features Google is proud of — can in fact really be. His eleven premises of the conclusion that “PageRank wrecked the web” are worth reading.
Convinced that Google, with its services, is not yet the best thing on a market of nearly $ 100 billion, Skrenta is determined to give birth to his baby, helped by a workgroup of six and a funding of $ 2 million. Still, as TechCrunch recently reported, the best prognosis for Blekko’s public prototype arrival online is 2009. Though trying to “hurt” Google Goliath on the competition level might seem as shooting blanks for fearful unimaginative minds — Google was itself a small, but ambitious startup 10 years ago — Blekko might just prove to be its smarter deadly David. As market niche, Blekko doesn’t need to be conceived right from the start as a serious Google crippler. 1% of the niche would be enough for starters… since it means $ 1 billion.