Congoo is a new search engine that offers a single service that the big guys don’t.

Congoo gives you the ability to search what normally would be subscription-only content at sites like Financial Times and Institutional Investor, and many more places. It is able to do so because it has negotiated access deals with each publisher. So each publisher has agreed to give Congoo users a different number of free passes. At some point, the free ride ends, and you are slapped with a registration page to sign up.

So it is a bit of a tease.

Anyway, Congoo does all this by offering you a software, called Netpass, that you download (there are both IE and Firefox versions) on your computer. That software then talks with the publishers sites, so that it knows which sites you have accessed enough times for your Netpass to run out.

Congoo has partnered with Google, which provides Congoo with Google search results. Congoo is useful if you want regular access to premium content that is not crawled by the big search engines as rigorously. Congoo crawls behind the firewall of these paid sites on a regular basis, so that it will always deliver you the search results, so that you can see what is there — regardless of whether you click through or not.

Still, we see Congoo’s chances as a sort of hail mary pass. Its challenge will be to draw enough users who really care about getting all this content. Most readers care about one or two publications enough to pay for them, and then what’s stopping those users from simply doing one-off searches at those publications’ sites and then using Google for everything else?

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