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A team of former Google employees has created a new social search service dubbed Mechanical Zoo, according to CNET News.com. The site will be in group testing next month.

Based in San Francisco, Mechanical Zoo was formed nine months ago and was founded by Nathan Stoll, former product lead for Google News, as well as Max Ventilla, a former business development manager at Google; and Damon Horowitz, a longtime computer scientist and former lead engineer of Perspecta, an early search software company. The team has 12 employees.

The company is building an application that will help people tap the knowledge of friends to find information that is closer to the searcher’s own personal tastes. A number of other startups are chasing this market, including Delver (which I saw at Demo) FriendFeed and Eurekster.

Mechanical Zoo has raised about $750,000 in convertible debt from angel investors. Two institutional investors have committed another $1.25 million to Mechanical Zoo, but the founders may raise a first round of venture funding instead.


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