collarity7.bmpCollarity is yet another Silicon Valley search engine start-up that wants to personalize your search results.

It does this by integrating things it knows about you — and from your surrounding community — garnered from past searches.

First, a warning: Too many search engines exist • and there will be some pain as most of them die a slow death. The list of ones we’ve written about in just the past few weeks goes on and on • Powerset, Spock, Wink, Like,, Ugenie, Medio • all sporting different flavors, and following the tsunami of vertical search engines that already hit last year. You can never quite tell, though, when one will produce something cool.

So here comes Collarity -• and with financial backing to boot. The 14-employee company started in August last year, and was secretive until two weeks ago, when it put out word it is around. Private individuals have invested “single-digit” millions into the company.

Levy Cohen, chief executive of Palo Alto-based Collarity, said he got his idea to launch Collarity because it bothered him that Google returns the exact same results to people even if they have different interests. If you’ve searched for information on Linux before, then the search engine should return results relevant to open source, he said. Moreover, if you search for “Java,” the search engine should know whether you’re more likely interested in the computer language, or coffee.

Collarity’s personalized search uses what it calls the Collarity Compass. See below. We’ve used a red arrow to point to the compass slider, which is on “global” in this example — it shows you global results for the search “Java,” in other words without any personalization. You’ll note that it clusters results around words, which you can select, and drill down into.

open compass.bmp

Let’s say you surf on the site Collarity gives you three layers to search: personal, community or global. If you want to search personal, you select that tab (see screenshot below). Collarity has a good sense of your interests — if you have registered, and if you’ve performed enough searches. Collarity may know that coffee is a big interest of yours, and return results related to that theme.


If if you click on the community tab, however, it returns results based on the interests of other people using the site• and in this case (see below), it is the Java computer language. It knows their interests by anonymously tracking their searches. Tabs on the right of the compass let you choose between searching within the site or all of the Web.


Collarity is open for playing with now. It plans to make money by taking a share of revenue that they get from ads.

The company apparently knows the only chance to survive in this cut-throat industry is to strike deals with various Web sites, to showcase its Compass. There’s little chance it will draw much activity on its home page, given the noise out there.

Let us know what you think.

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