Indian founded Search Engine Kosmix to Take on Google

Date:   Thursday , January 01, 2009

Kosmix founders Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayanan are now focused on taking online search a step further than just generating a list of websites that comprises of short descriptions. A previous brainchild of the duo, Junglee, an e-commerce search engine, was sold to Amazon.

The Silicon Valley startup that is taking on the might of Google has attracted investment of $20 million from Time Warner, owners of AOL, in its second round of funding. Among the participants of the funding round was former Motorola CEO Ed Zander who will also serve as an adviser to the company. The round, which also included the existing investors Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Dag Ventures, brings the Mountain View, California based company’s total funding to $55 million.

The site looks more like a Web portal than a search engine. It pulls together text, audio, and video content based on the underlying concept behind any query entered, rather than just looking for sites that contain the words in that query. “With the beta launch of the site, which presents specialized topic-centric search results in a ‘dashboard-style page’ the site offers a 360-degree view of any topic and presents a unique mix of the best content on the Web, including news, videos, reviews, images, opinions, and communities,” says Harinarayanan.

Pew reports that 28 percent of all online consumers surf the Web every day for fun, and another 29 percent of consumers do research on the Internet daily. For these people the ‘hunt and peck’ experience with a list of blue links is a slow, painful way to explore the Web. Rajaraman says, “Kosmix is about reinventing ’browsing’, just as Google reinvented ‘searching’.”

Kosmix - which employs 65 people just round the corner on the other side from Google in Mountain View, California - has already demonstrated the advertising potential of its system by creating RightHealth, an online medical resource that uses Kosmix’s concept-based search algorithms and has grown to be the second largest U.S. health site in just a year, attracting 11 million visitors a month.