Some days, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) feels like a Greek tragedy waiting to happen. Today is one of those days.
Blame Kosmix, a Baby Breaker search engine that, to me, does a better job than would-be upstart Cuil at organizing data. It's also like Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM ) competitor BitGravity in that it's among the few start-ups to attract significant funding during 2008. Kosmix has received $20 million from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) , Accel Partners, DAG Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, BusinessWeek reports.
Using it, I understand why. Kosmix is nothing like Google or alternatives from Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , or IAC's (Nasdaq: IACI ) Ask.com. It's almost wrong to call it a search engine. A better comparison might be Guy Kawasaki's Alltop.com, which aggregates feeds into topics that resemble an online magazine rack. Choose your topic and browse at will.
But if Alltop is a magazine rack, Kosmix is a magazine. Enter a search term and bits coalesce to form a page that includes news, video, audio, community commentary, images, and -- ka-ching! -- product placements. Check the page for The Motley Fool and you'll see what I mean.
Google is still better for finding an answer to a question, I think. But Kosmix has an interesting advantage in how it indexes FriendFeed and Yahoo! Answers "conversations" about your topics of interest. Tighter integration with Twitter, with its emerging role as a news and commentary source, must be next on Kosmix's feature list.
All the signs are there. Kosmix's home page includes a list of "trending topics" from Twitter, no doubt accessed via the company's open interface that's allowed dozens of firms to create services that embrace and extend the micro-blogger. Some, like Stocktwits and ffwd, have received funding from investors.
Kosmix is far too different to be a Google killer. But it's the closest thing I've seen -- outside of Twitter search -- to a tool for indexing topical community intelligence via the Web, a potential killer app in an era when blogs break news and tweeters become sources.
Shouldn't Google be at least a little scared?
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