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Gooey Search: We Can Make Google Search Better

Startup hopes Kickstarter will help it fund the project

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Have you ever been in the position in which you needed to conduct a search but couldn’t find the words that were suitable to query? If so, software company Visual Purple hopes to help through an effort it calls Gooey Search. WebProNews writer Chris Crum first told you about the Gooey Search project a couple of weeks ago, but we recently spoke with Ed Heinbockel, the President and Founder of Visual Purple, to find out more about the concept.

Ed Heinbockel, President and Founder of Visual Purple The idea for Gooey is to provide a stripped down version of Google’s search results that eliminates spam and “bubbles up” only the most relevant results. It has no desire to become the next “Google killer,” and actually, is described by Heinbockel as an “intelligent layer” that sits on top of Google’s results.

The company has launched a Kickstarter project in hopes of raising $125,000 to bring its technology to consumers in the form of an iPad app and a Firefox browser add-on.

As Heinbockel explained, Gooey’s results allow users to interact and customize their search experience. The company specifically provides a Gooey Graph that lets users delete and stack the results in order to find what they need.

“Our belief is that people will gravitate to a more interactive venue to do things and this is just a way to provide an interactive venue – an intelligent, interactive venue – to Google results,” said Heinbockel.

Gooey Search Graph

“Our technology does all the reading for you and bubbles up what you’re really looking for and lets you navigate those results,” he added.

Gooey Search also takes a strong stand on privacy, which, of course, is a topic that is gaining continuous attention in regards to Google. The search giant enacted its new privacy policy on March 1 of this year amid outcries from consumers and privacy activists.

“Essentially using Google or any of the popular search engines… without going through something like Gooey or DuckDuck [DuckDuckGo] just to do basic stuff, you basically relinquish any rights to privacy,” Heinbockel points out.

Adopting a model similar to SETI@home, the platform is built on GisterPRO, which is a premium version of Gooey geared toward researchers and analysts. The difference, however, is that GisterPRO is cloud-based and Gooey is based around groups that are crowd-based clouds.

In other words, when a search is conducted, it is distributed bit-by-bit to a large group of users. Heinbockel tells us that the technology behind Gooey cannot attribute a search to a given node or computer, thus giving users complete privacy and anonymity.

“For an organization or company or individual to reassemble that search in a cohesive and coherent fashion is virtually impossible,” he said.

Even with these privacy protections, why would a searcher use Gooey over a Google alternative such as DuckDuckGo? We posed this question to Heinbockel, who told us that, while DuckDuckGo and other search engines provide anonymity, they lack the “intelligent layer” that Gooey provides. As he explained, Gooey reads all the results but returns only the most relevant results for users. He believes this is a win for users since it gives them the best information while also saving time.

Going forward, Heinbockel told us that it would “make a lot of sense” for a Google or Bing to use a product like Gooey for its advanced search system. Although no talks are currently in the works, he said Gooey would be open to discussions if the right opportunity presented itself.

With the capital the company anticipates bringing in through the Kickstarter project, it hopes to make Gooey Search available to everyone and also raise awareness that such a product exists.

The deadline for the Kickstarter project is June 8.

Gooey Search: We Can Make Google Search Better
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