Image by jurvetson
Wowd has entered private beta testing, and I got some invite keys for my flickr friends if you want to give it a whirl. Feedback on the concept and implementation are welcomed.
In short, Wowd has built a fully distributed search engine. No server farm. No web crawlers. It’s like the Skype of real-time search.
Besides changing the cost, and data center energy equation for a new entrant, we think this architecture will have some interesting implications. Instead of relying on content or link analysis for page rank, which is architected – and sometimes gamed – by the publishers on the web, Wowd relies on the real-time surfing behavior of real people. It’s hard to game the behavior of the crowd in the cloud as this scales. So, you get the real-time web, the social web, and over time, the deep web. Think of all those sites that block web crawlers or are hopelessly out of date in search results today – from social networks, to eBay and Craigslist to various niches, like used car sites.
It has been quite exciting to see the product in development over the years. When the founder, Boris, first came to us, he had a bold vision and a smart team of young developers in Serbia. It reminded me of the Skype team from Estonia in so many ways. Boris and I spoke with the founders or original programmers at most of the major search companies, and they opined that it couldn’t be done (with reasonable system latency). That made it all the more interesting, and we seed financed the company. In full disclosure, I am also on the Board.
We thought that we would need many thousands of users before the distributed search engine would “work” and that early search results would be skewed by small numbers, biased by a disproportionate number of Serbs =). It is fascinating to watch in the early days, as many of the properties of the system are emergent, and the quality and performance of the system should improve with scale.
So, if you want to play with it, the link below should take you past the gates to the Wowd site. Please do so only if you are curious and willing to play with early code. It is a browser app that works across Windows, Mac and Linux. If you like it, great, if not, please keep it open and check in from time to time to see if it has improved, and of course, constructive feedback is even better. OK, so here’s the private beta Invite Link. Click on the "Get Wowd" button there to join the Wowd cloud.