MC Hammer Developing Google Search Competitor

Jennifer LeClaire, newsfactor.com

It's Hammer time in the search-engine wars. Rapper-turned-entrepreneur MC Hammer is working on a search engine to compete with the majors. It's even got an offbeat name: Wiredoo.

Hammer introduced Wiredoo at the Web 2.0 Summit on Wednesday, offering a demonstration of the search engine and describing it as "deep search" and "relationship search" even as Google co-founder Sergey Brin was there, on site.

"It's not a 'competitive' attempt to recreate search, but it's much like a lot of the things we see happening today. It's like the iPhone coming out again and somebody saying, 'What's new now to make it better," Hammer told the audience. "You can always make things better. There's always the next version, added features."

Results that Go Deeper

Wiredoo is the answer to the question, "What could we do in the area of search relative to data to make it better?" Hammer admitted the world doesn't really need another search engine, but he said there was a use for something better. He asked the audience to imagine what the world would be like if Google's founders hadn't tried to improve search.

Wiredoo works to expound on relationships beyond keywords. Hammer drilled home the point that deep search is about displaying all of the information on any particular topic in a single experience. It's deeper than a general search query, he said. The search engine is not quite in beta.

Hammer offered an example of searching for "cars." He said it was not just about the car itself, but things related to the car, like insurance, who is driving the car, the price, the specs, the mileage, and other components. The same goes for homes. There is relationship between homes and the community, the size of the schools, and insurance costs. And if you type "90210" into Wiredoo, for example, you'd get results that show the crime rate, the schools in the area, the shopping options and so on.

Doomed for Failure?

"Without having seen or used it, it's difficult to comment but I would say it has about a 95 percent chance of failure," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.

That doesn't mean Sterling doesn't see room for competition with Google, Bing and Yahoo. He has noticed some savvy competitors that are making headway in the search-engine market.

"Blekko has managed to hang on and become a 'third' search engine," he said. Blekko bills itself as a "better way to search the Web," and its secret sauce is defined as the "slashtag." Slashtags search only the sites a user wants to comb and cuts out the so-called spam sites. In doing so, Blekko aims to let users slash across the Web more quickly than traditional search.

"Blekko has minimal usage by comparison. It takes massive resources to compete 'horizontally,'' Sterling said. "However, niche providers have a chance to win audience by being very deep in particular areas."