Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Start- ups bat­tle to be the next Google.

IT’S hard to imag­ine any busi­ness re­ally com­pet­ing with Google’s search en­gine.

Got a ques­tion? Google it. The multinational cor­po­ra­tion’s name has even be­come a verb for search­ing.

But while they may not com­pete, other start- ups can im­prove on Google’s plat­form in the race to­wards more in­tu­itive search func­tions.

Chang­ing ca­reer path abruptly, Amer­i­can rap­per, dancer, preacher and spokesman MC Ham­mer ( of U Can’t Touch This fame), is look­ing to take on Google and Bing at once, with a new start- up called Wire­doo.

Ham­mer, AKA Stan­ley Kirk Bur­rell, an­nounced Wire­doo at the Web 2.0 Sum­mit in San Fran­cisco re­cently, de­scrib­ing the project as a search en­gine that of­fers a level of ‘‘ deep search’’ and re­lated top­ics that Google doesn’t of­fer.

It is still in pre- beta for­mat although it does al­low a sign- up op­tion to try out the search en­gine when it’s live.

The deep search premise is in­tu­itive, ac­cord­ing to Ham­mer.

‘‘ It’s not a com­pet­i­tive at­tempt to recre­ate search, [ but] you can al­ways make things bet­ter. There’s al­ways a next ver­sion,’’ he says.

‘‘ Do we re­ally need an­other search en­gine? Of course not. But if some­thing can be an added value, then we’ll find a def­i­nite use for it.

‘‘ The en­gine crawls and the al­go­rithm is de­signed in a way to get all of the re­lated in­for­ma­tion to your query and then pack­age it in one environment.

‘‘[ It’s a] kind of think­ing, right? The way you would think. If it’s a car . . . it’s not just about the word ‘ car’, but it’s about in­sur­ance, it’s about the specs, it’s about mileage, it’s about style, it’s about all these things. So that’s the way it works.’’

He’s not the first to in­tro­duce in­tu­itive com­pe­ti­tion: if you’ve ever used the search en­gine Bing, you’ll know that it doesn’t work like Google.

Mi­crosoft took a new ap­proach to search­ing with Bing, by in­tro­duc­ing in­tu­itive tools to search with, call­ing it a ‘‘ de­ci­sion en­gine’’ which they claimed would help con­sumers make smarter pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions.

Bing is still no patch on Google for pop­u­lar­ity, how­ever.

Will MC Ham­mer the com­pe­ti­tion? We’ll see. Wire­doo is in beta stage, but you can reg­is­ter for no­ti­fi­ca­tion of its launch at www. wire­doo. com

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