The Only Reason to Sell Google Now

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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  ) It's almost wrong to call it a search engine. A better comparison might be Guy Kawasaki's, 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?

More Google-y Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers team and had stock and options positions in Google and a stock position in Akamai at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy has been a rebel since birth.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (240)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2008, at 2:50 PM, nooofool wrote:

    I'm seeing BitGravity pop up all over at sites like Vimeo, seems like they are growing faster than Akamai.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2008, at 10:03 PM, WakeJKirk wrote:

    No, I honestly don't think Google should be scared. I think all other search engines should be scared but I don't think the amount of market share that Google loses is going to be more than the amount they gained. A temporary slowing of growth may happen but much more than that is highly unexpected. Google is a mammoth.

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2008, at 2:22 PM, ChefChaf wrote:

    Agree with WakeJKirk but for different reasons.

    Google as a core search technlogy will be with us and thriving for as long as it is the best at what it is doing, and as long as it is cashing in on its ad placement platform.

    Neither Kosmix nor any other startup out there are anywhere close(now or near future) to distrub google in those two areas.

    we are seeing now, is he rise of web information consolidators/aggregators, just because the web is becming unamangablefor the average joe out there.

    those will still use the googles/twitters of the world(meaning still need them). but they will offer customizable information zones that pulls the wealth of info together for easy access. That is the value they provide and it is a nice add on, NOT a substitute.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2009, at 4:35 PM, djsinv wrote:

    Google has been successful because they are smart and have made good decisions. I'm sure they are aware of kosmix. If I were google, I would thank them for doing independent research for them :). If kosmix succeeds they will either swallow them up or duplicate the model.

    In addition, I see google as much more than a search engine. I see them long term taking a lot of turf from Microsoft. They are implementing many innovative technology solutions that will reduce the importance of the actual operating system (ie windows). If everything a user does they do via a google interface then what is the point of paying for windows/vista?

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