People Power Vs Google

Will a people’s collective be able to beat Google at the search game?

That’s the proverbial $64,000 question, and venture investors are trying to answer that by funding start-ups such as Wink, that plans to go live perhaps as soon as Thursday, according to Silicon Valley sources. The company has been in a limited beta since October, and today conducted a major update to its infrastructure and interface, according to their blog.

Wink is a search engine that integrates tag results from multiple sources such as del.icio.us, Digg, Yahoo MyWeb (and we’re adding more). As more services incorporate tags and user input, new pages are added to the Wink index and ranked using our TagRank technology to deliver the best results.

Wink is backed by some serious heavy weights: Scott Kurnit of About.com; Ron Conway; Reid Hoffman, Marc Andressen along with Venky Harinarayan (of Cambrian ventures) and David Sze (of Greylock).

Wink is not alone in taking on Google. Of course, there are others like Activeweave, Jookster, Kaboodle, and Rollyo which are taking “human cycles” and trying to come-up with better results than Google.

Yahoo’s MyWeb effort, so eloquently detailed by Erick Schonfeld in Business 2.0, and its recent acquisition of Del.icio.us are part of this “people versus Google” movement.

I am not so optimistic about this trend, because I have not seen the mainstreams get interested in the bookmarking and tagging as yet. Believers can take comfort in the fact, that it is early days, but I am not so sure. I think it needs a behavioral change on part of “searchers” who have become accustomed to simply typing their queries and then trying to figure out where to go. Sort of like bad cell phone coverage : we go used to it.

Of course, conspiracy theorist like me often wonders, what if search not only became good, but great and accurate. A lot of “spare page views” generated by hit-and-miss model of today can drastically reduce page views, and advertising opportunities. Of course that would be horrible for Google….

Back to Wink…. I am going to test out their offering once they go live, and update the post. You can of course contribute your thoughts.

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