Topix Co-Founder Taking On Google

    January 3, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Rich Skrenta has a new startup called Blekko in the works, and plans to make a run at the search engine world with it.

Skrenta’s disdain for what search has become with Google dominance has been well-documented. He talked about beating Google in March 2007, saying the dominant search engine is "unassailable in its core domain."

He suggested an approach similar to vertical search might work, but it will need "a great product and a strong new brand." In his post about Blekko, Skrenta hinted at how he’ll go about taking on the world of search:

I’ve come away with the idea that editorial differentiation is possible. But the editorial voice of a search engine is in the index…so it has to be algorithmic editorial differentiation.

Google and it’s copy-tition were designed 10 years ago. But the web has changed significantly in the past decade. Google was built to index a web that no longer exists.

TechCrunch had a little more about Skrenta’s startup. A public prototype of Blekko is at least a year away, with Skrenta aiming for part of the bigger engine’s market share.

"Normally an entrepreneur announcing they’re taking on Google with a six person team and just $2 million in funding would either be laughed at or ignored," Michael Arrinigton wrote. "In Skrenta’s case, he has proven himself more than once as capable of taking on big challenges and winning."

Taking on and beating Google is a lofty goal. If Blekko can get close to the top five, it will be a multi-billion dollar success story.

The challenge of topping Google has changed from the time when Google wiped away AltaVista and everyone else in the search space when it launched. No company had Google’s scale when that happened, not in search or contextual advertising.

It’s not impossible that a better product could come along and provide a better search experience than Google. Getting to a higher scale means changing an ingrained habit of "Googling" by Internet users. Altering the mindset that leads one to search Google may be a bigger task than creating a better algorithm.