Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Everyone is the next Google

John Battelle writes:
    Remember when I predicted that there would be a company claiming to be the new Google every month or so this year? I was wrong. It's more like every two weeks, and it's either the new Google, or the "Google of" (insert vertical here - travel, shopping, etc.).
The latest Google of the Week is apparently Kozoru, a startup that somehow got $3M to build a new natural language search engine. No product yet, and an article on Kozoru in the Johnson County Sun (via ResourceShelf) doesn't raise confidence that there ever will be:
    The fundamental paradox, as Flowers puts it, is that computers are really good with math but really bad with language. Flowers struggled with this dilemma through a stint working for Microsoft

    "Then I gave up, frankly. January 2003, I said the heck with it. Technology was no longer interesting to me, and the really hard problem that I wanted to solve is unsolvable," Flowers said.

    Flowers, who holds degrees in English and philosophy, spent the next few months writing books and screenplays ... In February of this year, Flowers came up with an answer and came back to the states to put it to work.

    After translating more than 980,000 words in the English language into codes of ones and zeroes, Kozoru's first objective will be to establish a knowledge base. To do this they will first turn to the most objective source for language information, the dictionary. After establishing that system, they will incorporate the most objective source for historical information, the encyclopedia.

    Flowers said he hopes to have the initial Kozoru prototype developed in the next nine to 12 months.
I hope this is just bad reporting. Having gotten $3M in investment, one would assume there is, at the very minimum, a strong founding team, existing prototypes, and novel technology at Kozoru.

Update: The next Google? They're everywhere.

Update: Two years later, Korozu appears to be dead. They never launched their promised natural language search engine. The only thing that surprises me on this sad tale is that this company got $3M in funding and so much press attention. It was a remarkable display of hype over substance.

No comments: