Kosmix, the search company that has built sites around specific topics like health and automobiles, just rolled out a “horizontal” search engine — namely, one that brings the Kosmix approach to any topic you can think of.
That may seem like a dangerous move; we’re pretty skeptical about any search company that tries to take on Google (particularly one whose founders considered acquiring and eventually declined to buy Google when they were working at Amazon in 1999). But Kosmix’s approach is less about ranking the results to every possible search query, and more about building a home page that pulls together the most relevant content for any subject. A search for “breast cancer,” for example, brings together basic facts from MayoClinic.com, video from Truveo, Google web search results and more.
The company says its strategy is paying off, with a total of around 15 million monthly unique visitors to its three existing sites, RightHealth, RightAutos and RightTrips. Now Kosmix is trying to make that work on a broader scale.
In a way, Mahalo has been trying to provide a similar service. But its search pages are built by people, while Kosmix creates its results automatically, with algorithms. In doing so, it can cover more topics — no one has bothered to build a Mahalo search page for VentureBeat, for example (which is a grave oversight, by the way), but there’s an automatically generated result in Kosmix. Even though VentureBeat doesn’t fall into one of Kosmix’s specialties, and Kosmix horizontal search is still in early, “alpha” testing mode, the page about us is surprisingly decent. Through Truveo, InfoSpace and other sites you can get all the photos and videos of Editor Matt Marshall that you can handle, plus our Google results and forum posts to Omgili.
[Update: Looks like someone at Mahalo was listening.]
A Kosmix spokesperson says the company will still maintain focused search sites like RightHealth, as well as building other “vertical” sites whose results can be used to enhance the horizontal search engine too.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has raised a total of $35 million.