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Google buys Aardvark social search

Google buys Aardvark social search

Google's purchase of Aardvark - a social search engine created by ex-Google staff - could give its new Buzz service a boost.

Google has confirmed its purchase of social search engine start-up Aardvark, spending an estimated $50 million (£32 million) to return ex-employees to the fold.

Aardvark, a human-powered question-and-answer based social search engine, was created in late 2007 by The Mechanical Zoo, a company founded by ex-Google employees and comprising at the time Max Ventilla, Damon Horowitz, Rob Spiro, and Nathan Stoll. The search engine they created is markedly different from ex-employer Google's, however, in that results are returned in minutes rather than seconds - because each result is offered by real-world humans.

Although not the first human-powered search engine, the start-up has caught the eye of search giant Google: according to VentureBeat the company has splashed out a whopping $50 million to buy the company and return its employees back to the Google fold - significantly richer than when they left.

Coming so soon after the launch of Google's controversial new social networking service Google Buzz it's clear to see where Google is concentrating its efforts: social networking, and the use of one's social network to provide more personalised, detailed, and useful information than a cold, impersonal search engine powered by algorithms and honking-great databases.

It's an interesting direction for the company to take: with microblogging service Twitter considered to hold the crown on real-time searching thanks to its hordes of users commenting on every little thing that happens, Google will be playing catch-up in this particular game - and is clearly hoping that its investment in Aardvark will help towards that goal.

Does the idea of a social network powered search engine make sense, or is it the sort of service for which you'd use Twitter? Is Google barking up the wrong tree, or has it stumbled onto the next big thing for search? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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yakyb 12th February 2010, 11:39 Quote
hmm interesting site never heard of it before have just signed up
mi1ez 12th February 2010, 11:50 Quote
meh
Skiddywinks 12th February 2010, 11:52 Quote
Yeh, may have to give this one a go...
LJF 12th February 2010, 11:56 Quote
I'm not antisocial by any means but... why does everything have to be social nowadays!?
scawp 12th February 2010, 12:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LJF
I'm not antisocial by any means but... why does everything have to be social nowadays!?

more importantly why does everything have to be Google. skynet+1
msm722 12th February 2010, 14:08 Quote
It's worth £32m and most people haven't heard of it? How odd.
frojoe 12th February 2010, 18:02 Quote
To a company like google, I'm sure its the people worth the money, not the product.
LucusLoC 12th February 2010, 18:28 Quote
Q: What is the capital of Peru?

The most common answer is: F*** YOU
Calle2003 13th February 2010, 02:36 Quote
I joined Aarvark, quite a good idea but Buzz connects to Flickr and Twitter but Buzz doesn't connect to Facebook because they see Facebook as a too big competitor...but Aardvark connects to Facebook! xD
tad2008 15th February 2010, 21:41 Quote
So Google effectively creates search child Aardvark then consumes Aardvark, or was it more a disagreement by previous employees who thought of a better way, jumped ship and started out on their own, only to be dragged back to the fold and paid for the privilege. Sounds like this could become a common thing if you work for Google or similar companies and feel your ideas are being oppressed, leave, bring your idea to life and wait to be bought out for a nice tidy sum.
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