Google, the giant search engine which started as a garage project has now grown to dominate the internet for much of the world, with the company rising to become worth hundreds of billions.
Despite being the face of the internet for many, no one quite knows how its algorithm works. Nor do we know whether there is any oversight to ensure results are not intentionally manipulated by the company or their employees.
The amount of data it collects on us daily is difficult to comprehend with the search engine knowing much about us and our websites, as well as what we do, when, and why.
Yet it lacks any human touch. If something goes wrong, getting hold of a person at Google is difficult if at all possible unless you have direct contacts. The search engine provides no real customer support for most. Not just in their free products, but also for their advertising publishers.
The once colorful cute start-up has become cold, detached, inaccessible, and even a nightmare for some. Potentially opening the way for new colorful, cute, start-ups, to do what Google did back in 1998.
Whether Presearch can, remains to be seen, but that’s their ambition. The search tool that was internally used at ShopCity to help local businesses with discoverability, plans to go public and build a decentralized search engine through many stages. So competing with the Google giant.
“While Google is generally thought of as a neutral entity for search, the company answers to Wall Street and operates very secretively,” said Colin Pape, who founded Presearch and previously launched community commerce platform ShopCity, before adding:
“They’ve become known for promoting themselves at the expense of alternatives and appropriating others’ information, blaming it on ‘the algorithm.’ The reality is that they manipulate results and justify changes as being best for the user. With Presearch, I wanted to flip that business model on its head and put power over information back into the hands of all internet users.”
Presearch plans to do the opposite of Google. They say, for example, that while Google keeps its algorithm a close guarded secret, Presearch will publicize such details as “ranking factors, usage stats, roadmaps and financial statements.” Moreover:
“There will always be the ability to directly contact an official representative at Presearch via phone, live chat, email or online forum and receive a personal reply within 72 hours.”
Google, and other web 2 giants that make billions in yearly profits, claim they can’t afford a call-center even though others with hundreds of millions of customers are seemingly perfectly able to do so because it is usually very rare that anyone needs to contact customer support and even then it would be for five minutes or so.
Start-ups, therefore, are seemingly rediscovering that human touch, with Presearch stating they want to build a community around the search tool by utilizing an ethereum based token.
That token will have many functions, including its use as a reward for searching or for seeing sponsored listings among other factors:
Taking on Google, however, is no easy task. Its resources are vast. Its advertising network is unparalleled and when things do work, its products are generally one of the best, if not the very best.
Others have tried, like DuckDuckGo, finding its niche, with none coming close. However, the token model is a very new thing and might add a different dimension to activities we take for granted, such as searching.
Some have dubbed it as better than free. Instead of just giving away your very valuable data in return for free searching, the token model can reward you too, on top of providing a similar service.
It’s all very new and the first iterations will probably be crude, but as the digital world becomes a vital part of our daily lives with more and more earning their living through it, monetary incentives might become not just desirable, but necessary.
Thus potentially opening the spectrum of disruption to even the big four: Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. All of which have been silent regarding this space, perhaps because they do not quite understand it or are too big to play with it.
So it may come down again to two guys in a garage. Although, in this case it might be slightly less romantic as Presearch was incubated by ShopCity and is being advised by Rich Skrenta, who sold his search engine Blekko to IBM Watson and open-source search innovator Trey Grainger, SVP of Engineering at Lucidworks.