Updated: Infoaxe is revealing to the world today its alter ego: a search engine. Unlike other real-time search engines such as OneRiot, Infoaxe doesn’t depend on Twitter streams and the like (Update: OneRiot emailed to note that it also uses a panel in addition to social sharing streams). Instead, it anonymously harvests data from its millions (low millions, for now) of people who use its personal search history plug-in.
The idea is to observe every page an Infoaxe user visits, not just the ones they share on social web services. This aggregate attention data adds 7 million URLs per day to its index, as compared to some 300,000 URLs on Twitter and 10,000 on Digg. Of course, those other sites’ URLs are shared for a reason.
“Even though Twitter and Facebook have exposed the chink in Google’s armor, we don’t think they are the cure,” Infoaxe founder Jonathan Siddharth said in a recent interview. He and co-founder Vijay Krishnan met while doing their computer science masters’ degrees at Stanford a couple years ago.
Infoaxe’s results are fresh, but they don’t form an up-to-the-second real-time stream, which is a plus for relevancy. Rather Infoaxe puts an emphasis on pages where its users have stayed for a while or revisited often — so it’s good at discovering things like product deals and hosted web streams of TV and movies — the kinds of query for which another search engine might deliver an outdated pile of spammy SEO junk, or a more timeless link like an IMBD page, respectively.
As Infoaxe tries to secure deals to incorporate its results into larger search engines, it’ll be important that it has a good sample of users. And to some extent, that will never happen, because the people who contribute to Infoaxe will only be those who are motivated to save and parse their own search histories. However Siddharth and Krishnan brag that their 2.1 million registered users are starting to break out of the early adopter mold, with more total IE plug-in downloads than Firefox, and an even balance of men and women.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Infoaxe has five employees; it raised $900,000 from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Labrador Ventures, Band of Angels and Amidzad Partners in 2008.