Ex-Googlers Reveal Startup and Google’s Big Weakness

Likaholix creators say social media Google

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Having the title Ex-Googler is probably a good thing if you’re in the startup business. Twitter, after all, is run by ex-Googlers. That credibility worked the old hype machine for Cuil, too, until it couldn’t perform. Bindu Reddy and Arvind Sundararajan, ex-Googlers, suggest it’s a bad idea to take on Google where Google is strong—like Cuil did with search—but taking it to Google where it is weak can work.

And so they’ve fairly quietly launched Likaholix in private beta.


Likaholix is a recommendation site where people can, very simply, makes lists of stuff they like. Products, businesses, websites, people, music, movies, whatever. In order to “like” something, a person can enter a link or search for it, and the search engine there will bring back sites, photos, videos, product reviews, etc., regarding the subject, and the person can choose things to add to the file they create for their liked thing, along with their own commentary.

Our ex-Googlers have been smart to make this a standalone, closed off service, and have made it very social, very interoperable with other sites. Users can invite friends from their email contacts and social networking lists, they can share their likes with Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed, and they can also import 4 and 5 star reviews from sites like Amazon and Yelp.

What Bindu and Arvind have created here essentially is a user-generated walled garden. And that may be very exciting for people. In the same way Google rolled out Gmail, Likaholix is in private beta and will rely on invites for a while for testing.

Jennifer Van Grove

There’s a fascinating article at Mashable by Jennifer Van Grove exploring why Googlers like Bindu and Arvind are leaving the company and starting their own sites. The most interesting takeaways:

1.    Google’s too big, rigid and slow for good ideas outside of their core to get traction. That’s why creative, innovative Googlers leave.
2.    Search is a bad idea if you want to threaten Google. (Right, Microsoft?) Google is weakest, because of number one, in the social and real time search arenas.
3.    Bindu Reddy says Facebook and Twitter, not Microsoft or Yahoo, are Google’s biggest threats. 


Here’s a nice review of Linkaholix from Geeks Are Sexy.

Ex-Googlers Reveal Startup and Google’s Big Weakness
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  • http://www.dogconstipation.org steve

    As far as I knew , every google employee gets few hour off on his job to work on his own private project .That is how orkut came up . This whole project could do a lot better if it came from the house of google .

    • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

      Yeah Steve, I heard that too about googlers getting a few hours each week to work on their own pet projects but I think being allowed to toy with a concept and actually getting funding and personnel to launch said pet project are two different things. Google lets everyone dream but apparently they are slow to actually greenlight the many new ideas bubbling up from its workforce.

  • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

    Thought I was informed in the web world but didn’t know the twitter people were x-googlers. Interesting.

    >>Likaholix is a recommendation site where people can, very simply, makes lists of stuff they like.<<

    Rule 1 for a startup: what unfilled need in the market does your company fufill? Do we need a site to go to make lists of stuff we like? I rest my case.

  • http://hotbizsol.vox.com SEO India

    I think the fad with web 2.0 and the rate at which these sites are springing up is because programming such sites is easy and content is ready. What you have to do is to packaging or baggaging or whatever all the content that you can pull from web for free. I am quite surprised to see how several sites are getting personal information and images from web once we tell them our name and email. And with all social networks and photo sharing sites offering some sort of an API, I think it became quite easy to re-pack the existing information.
    Anyway, good luck to the x-googlers and hope the new site would be interesting.

  • http://www.direito2.com.br Ruben Zevallos Jr.

    Most of today Google success are because it’s employees, so called Googlers… I think, most of this Googlers show your ideas to Google high command, but as usual, most are not so good for then… and as I did once, they thought their ideas are good to hit the streets and not to be in some burocractic draw… so… Google’ll have lot’s of new players in the market… most of this players that came from his own belly… it it will be good, only in the future’ll know…

  • http://www.typemock.com/ unit testing

    Google can use some competition, thier search engine is lacking many things

  • http://www.thelostagency.com david

    is this more of a project that has a limited appeal and a niche market so they cant be called a failure because you have limited membership and is not a mass market site so doesnt have much competition…

    is this just another cash out to your investors and run project?

  • http://www.mypartyplanner.com/ Party

    I would agree actually, it seems to take Google a very long time to change current elements and improve them, but this is similar to any very large entity.

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