Mahalo.com, the latest company from entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, launched, with a stripped-down search engine designed to handle only the most popular requests in widely appealing categories.
Focused on areas such as travel, music, television, movies, cars, food, health, news and sports — and filtered with the help of a team of 40 employees in Santa Monica, Calif. — the limited results are meant to avoid the spam and other junk results that clog up the other search engines. They aim to fulfill the Web’s most repeated requests.
By cherry-picking only the most popular 10,000 search terms, it can organize results in the form of a more organized, thoughtful list about your search term’s attributes.
The challenge here, though, is that dozens of other search engines have launched to tackle specialized search already, including shopping search engines, job search engines, travel engines and engines like Hakia that organize results in similar ways to Mahalo. Moreover, there are other sites that provide real people to help assist in searches, such as ChaCha.com. Finally, Mahalo forces people to change their searching behavior, requiring them to calculate when to use Mahalo versus say Google or other engines — all things that make this a long-shot for quick, big success.
However, Calacanis, who co-founded Weblogs, a blogging network, sold to AOL for $25 million in 2005, says he has enough cash to tide him over for four or five years without turning a profit. Mahalo is backed by Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz, News Corp., CBS Corp., Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Elon Musk, co-founder of online payment service PayPal.
It has completed 4,000 of the 10,000 planned pages. If you search for something Maholo doesn’t have the answer to, it defaults to Google’s results.
More details here.
Example for search term “Porsche 911” below:
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.