A typically electric crowd at Web 2.0 today. One of the people we finally got to meet was John Flowers, founder of search company kozoru. We’ve blogged a lot about kozoru over the past year (see here, here and here). That’s partly because what they’re doing is interesting and partly because they’ve been pretty open about where they’re headed. Flowers told us today that the company has changed directions – or platforms, at least. What was once supposed to be a web-based question-answer search engine (like Ask Jeeves, but better, they’re fond of saying) is now moving to instant messaging and mobile devices.
We got a quick demo when Flowers flipped open his phone and verbally asked it a question: “Who will Bush appoint next?” What came back was a text message news story that talks about Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. As for instant messaging, users could drag kozoru into their buddy lists and start sending it questions. For a variety of reasons, Flowers said, his team concluded that the question-and-answer process makes more sense outside of the browser.
The product is expected to go live next April, but you may never see it under the kozoru name. If all goes as hoped, Flowers hopes to sell the technology to an as-yet-undiscovered business partner. Stay tuned.