Talking tech since 2003

Dear Search Engine Startups,

I realize that I may only be 19 years old and lack a lot of the experience that a lot of big name (or just older) entrepreneurs may have acquired throughout their years in the industry but it doesn’t mean that the advice I provide in this open letter should be ignored.

It has been said that 2009 will be the year of search (engines), which, I could have told you in late 2007 as that is when I came up with the idea for a new type of targeted search.  No, I wasn’t planning on trying to completely reinvent the wheel, nor was I going to attempt to take on Google.  I had a completely different plan.  A plan which I have kept pretty secretive for the most part until today.  There is currently a problem with search (at least what I believe to be a problem or what someone will eventually realize to be a problem) and that particular problem presents an opportunity which I had a plan to take advantage of.

The Opportunity
The web is full of a wide variety of multi-media content, most popularly, videos, images, and podcasts. This type of multi-media is scattered out all across the web and in many cases is not easily accessible or manageable. There are a number of search engine companies on the web; however, none of them have approached this area of search and organization of multi-media online.

In order to remedy this problem a search engine needs to incorporate all of the most popular multi-media websites (for starters) on the Internet into their indexes which can be searched. Unlike traditional search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Live – this type of search engine should provide addition functionality with a social networking side allowing users to not only manage their own favorite multi-media content, but also interact with friends and share content with ease.

The Solution
This type of search engine is the solution to multi-media search and online media organization. The task at hand is to make multi-media easier to search and organize for the end user. The features and functionality including the ability to search and find content, create and maintain playlists and favorites as well as share content from a centralized location will be driving force of this search engine startups success. If you look at successful sites, they may not always be the first sites of their type, however, they all have one thing in common: the ability to interact and share content easily. Whether it be YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook they all provide that essential sharing element.

Essential Features & Functionality
In order to make this search engine effective you need (at the very least) these features and functions.

Search the Internets most popular video, images, and podcast websites with ease. Sort through your search results quickly with our search filtering which allows you to narrow down results to specific websites.

Playlists are one-way users can manage their favorite videos, images, and podcasts. Content can be added to a playlist directly from search results by clicking the “Add to playlist” icon under the result. Playlists can be edited with simplicity as well by using our playlist manager you can sort content within the playlist itself – moving it around, removing, and adding. In addition, users can compile playlists and use the sites player to seamlessly play the content within the playlist.

Favorites allow users to easily save their favorite videos, images, and podcasts to an organized area in their profile, which can then later be added to playlists if desired, by the user. Managing favorites is quick and simple, by default favorites are grouped together by type of content (videos, images, and podcasts) and originating website. However, users can also opt to organize their favorites by title and date or by personal preference meaning users can organized their favorites in whichever order they choose by simply dragging and dropping items.

Sharing allows users to send their favorites and playlists to their friends with the click of the mouse.

Socialize with your friends – users can send their friends private messages and leave comments on each others profile pages. In addition, users interact with their friends through the Socialize part of the profile, which allows you to see the latest going on with your friends such as their latest playlists, favorites, received comments, and friendships.

It appears now that even Google has noticed this problem as of March 2009 (or earlier perhaps). I find it rather amusing how venture capital firms are willing to invest in these search engines who are trying to completely reinvent the wheel when it comes to searching the web but are failing.  The fact of the matter is simple, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we simply need to adjust and fine tune it by targeting the parts which are flawed.  Search results should be simple and to the point – we don’t need complete visual results of a page when what we’re looking for is information.  However, that’s not to say that search results can’t be displayed better because they can be.

These search engines startups need to stop attempting to create something so completely outside the box that it’s just not practical to use and more time attempting to create a search engine with a built in social and organizational platform that can address the above the problem.  By now you may be asking for a business model and I have one (not sure if I’m ready to share it yet though).  If you would like to contact me about anything I’ve said above feel free to leave a comment or send me an email through the contact form.

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