searchme; the “Apple” of your Search Eye?

Google is to the PC (utilitarian) as searchme is to the MAC (elegant).

At least, that’s what an impressive group of VC’s that just plunked down another $12.6 Million on searchme are hoping you’ll think.

Including previous investment, this brings the total capital they have netted to date, to $43.6 Million (or about $28.25 Million Euros *sigh*). Investors include Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Deepfork Capital and Lehvan Brothers Venture Capital.

So, who are these cats anyway? You may remember the now defunct WikiSeek, who focused on providing results based solely on content referred to within the pages of Wikipedia. Without going into details, let’s just say – they sucked at it. Fortunately for the dev team, CEO Randy Adams remembered that old nursery rhyme – “If at first you don’t succeed….”, which brings us to searchme.

I learned about searchme two months ago when UK based SEO, Richard Baxter wrote an interesting post about how searchme works. I’ll be honest – when first seeing the beta, I wasn’t at all impressed. However, they’ve since added a few bells and whistles, and I have to say – it feels so – Austin Powers. Yeah baby, yeah!

I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right cerebellum would possibly consider investing in a search engine startup at this advanced stage of the game? Let’s face it, Brin & Page (Brage?), sneeze more than forty three mill on a daily basis and the 800lb Googorilla is probably going to continue sucking up market share like a blood tick on a pig’s butt (that’s Texas speak), for the foreseeable future.

Well, let’s just say that picking up even just 1% of the worldwide search market would make for some pretty fancy living for the folks at searchme. If they can develop some schnazzy IP (as it seems they are doing) – it – just – might – happen!

So, the next time you’re laying back sipping some Dom Perignon after Chateaubriand for two, and you’re struck with the overwhelming urge to search, “May I suggest the – searchme?”

What say you, Pilgrims?

  • http://www.mikemoran.com Mike Moran

    I wrote a post on this a couple of weeks ago (http://www.mikemoran.com/biznology/archives/2008/05/do_you_want_a_visual_search_en.html), agreeing with your initial assessment, but haven’t gone back and looked since. I think visual search will become a feature of the big engines and that Google’s real competition will come from outside a frontal assault on search. I don’t think there is any intellectual property that prevents the big engines from borrowing ideas from the small fry, especially when they are so out in the open, like a better UI.

  • Dean

    cute – yes
    functional – no

  • http://www.hypeelite.com Erika

    As a web developer, I appreciate searchme’s ability to allow me to scan my client’s competitors that much more efficiently. It makes it easier for me to pick out which sites have features worth exploring, as well as what sites appear to have had some type of SEO effort exerted (with the highlighting of the keywords in the text.) Furthermore, it makes my life a litle easier, because when I have clients who have little [to no] idea what kind of design they want, I tell them to search a few relevant keywords and go shopping, so to speak. I will say this, though. That algorithm needs a major amount of work.

    I can definitely appreciate the effort and I love the idea, but they have a lot of work to do. A LOT.

  • Sean Maguire

    @Mike – I was thinking more in terms of their disambiguation feature and a few other things not related to the UI, however even then I haven’t researched enough to know what, if anything, they possess that is patented. It does seem that their UI somehwat mimicks that of spacetime.com, which I believe is patented or pending.

    Admittedly, I’m somewhat of a cheerleader for startups and although I personally have yet to see one that I think can grab even 1% in marketshare, I do think one will come along. We’ll see.

    @Erika – Well stated. Between searchme and spacetime, and the combination of visual and 3D features, I do think they will strike a chord in some. Nevertheless – getting people to change their search brand and habits is no easy feat regardless of how interesting the product may be.

  • Chris

    Searchme is doomed for failure in my opinion. The VCs are throwing good money out the window.

    There are also quite some problems with the searchme bot ….

    http://seoker.com/2008/05/20/searchmecom-the-worst-search-engine-ever/

  • Sean Maguire

    @Chris – Seems you had the same problem with the bot “Charlotte”, crawling your site that Richard Baxter, the guy I referenced in the article, had.

    My thoughts were focused on their UI, as opposed to how they crawl a site, which definitely seems to be a problem. Thanks for the note.

  • http://www.facesaerch.com Franz

    hi sean

    take a minute and check out http://www.facesaerch.com

    currently whit some popularity in japan and china
    built without venture capital but with the love of creative coding and open APIs and free available scripts. http://www.facesaerch.com/facesearch/?q=%22Sean+Maguire%22

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole Price

    you never know. Long odds are known to hit the jackpot every now and then! These guys are not exactly boy scouts. They are playing an adults’ game and putting big bucks where their instincts tell them to.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Home Decorating? Here are some Ideas

  • http://www.evawhite.com Eva White

    See the very fact that Serch Engines are still doing so well can lead to a few stray bucks falling the newcomer’s way.

    Eva White’s last blog post..Charging Your Phone? Forget It!