SearchMe, a search engine startup with a visual interface and a lot of funding

SearchMe is another search startup that wants to take on Google.

It is a visual search engine, that shows you results in a series of revolving panes, with each pane featuring a search result. In iTunes, this format is used to feature the covers of albums, not search results.

searchme031108.pngSearchMe also has other potentially useful features. It offers categories to help you find what you’re looking for more quickly. For example, if you type in “labrador puppies,” as seen in the demo video below, you can then additionally click on an icon for puppies to clarify that you’re not looking for information about a province of the Canadian government. If you want a list of SearchMe search results instead of the visual interface, you can drag open the list from the bottom of the screen.

I haven’t had a chance to test it out myself (the site is in private beta, you can sign up on its homepage), but Kara Swisher has a more in-depth look, here. She also notes that Google is experimenting with a similar project in its labs.

Here’s the company’s video demo:

This is the latest search product from the Mountain View company — it has raised $31 million from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures and Lehman Brothers, to date, so it has some room to experiment. VentureBeat readers may remember it first surfacing under the name Kavam, in early 2006 (our coverage), then launching a search engine for Wiki pages that was underwhelming compared to Google’s ability to search wiki pages (our coverage).

randyadams031108.pngFrom my outside-the-private-beta perspective, the best thing the company has going for it is the experience of the founding team — which is probably the rationale behind the large amount of funding the company has received over the years. Specifically, chief executive and co-founder Randy Adams (LinkedIn profile here) has already founded and sold a number of successful companies including Emerald City Software, bought by Adobe Systems; the Internet Shopping Network, bought by the Home Shopping Network; Navitel Communications, bought by Spyglass, Inc.; and more. In fact, Sequoia owes him one — he helped introduce Sequoia to Yahoo, which led to the firm’s initial investment in the company. Then he served on Yahoo’s board of directors during the first year of its operation. Some more details here.