It took us a while, when we visited with David Hayden last week, to “get” the concept behind his latest company, a search site called Jeteye. It’s something you have to see and play with to begin to understand.
Hayden, formerly of Critical Path, calls Jeteye a “shared search” service with the defining feature being something called Jetpacks. These are packages of information that users create that can hold all types of content – including digital photos, comments, attachments, blogs, URLs. Once created, these Jetpacks become associated with search terms and can be discovered by other users. The top three Jetpacks will show up atop search results.
A user could create a Jetpack about sea kayaking, for example, and fill it with photos, links and their own personal recommendations and have it show up when other users conduct searches on sea kayaking. The Jetpacks augment the regular search results that Jeteye returns (they use Google, Lycos, Yahoo and others for their search results). They can be edited and added to by other users. It’s like del.icio.us meets wikis meets MyWeb. Sort of.
“The objective is to allow people to create packages and share their digital activity,” Hayden said. “Human knowledge makes more relevant, more contextual the information that is retrieved.”
“It’s search-plus,” Hayden added. “It’s like bringing color to B&W TV. You’re getting info about what other people are looking for. I’m looking up what they saw before I go to see what Google said.”
Users can control who sees their Jetpacks, effectively creating a little social network. Interestingly, Hayden says the Jetpacks will be indexed by the other major search engines, so they’ll begin to show up when people conduct searches at other sites.
The business model: ads on the search pages, and down the road, sponsored Jetpacks. “It’s an improvement over banner ads, more visual,” Hayden says.
Jeteye, based in San Francisco, has 20 employees. They’ve raised $2.5 million to date and are preparing to go out for a second round soon.