A new search engine has been launched in alpha testing mode by Weblogs founder Jason Calacanis.
Called Mahalo, the engine is human-powered, with a team of 40 editors working to compile relevant search pages for a certain amount of key word searches.
It is expected that the system will use online advertising but it may have a hard time competing with market leaders such as Google.
So far Calacanis and his team have compiled results for only 4,000 search terms, although that is set to expand fairly rapidly.
The tailored searches include various links broken down into categories, which could significantly improve the browsing experience.
For example, searching for "coffee" brings back a Top Seven list, including Coffee on Wikipedia, the official Starbucks site and 'Roasting your own coffee' at Squidoo.
Next is a list of coffee recipes, the coffee blogs and forums, coffee news and articles, and other sections such as coffee history, coffee merchandise and 'Where to get coffee'.
Related searches are also listed, so a search for Frank Zappa provides links to searches for Tom Waits, Steve Vai, Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart and others.
However, a post on e-consultancy relating to Mahalo sums up the possible pitfalls of the venture.
"At Ask Jeeves [which used a similar model] we used to be asked the question: "So how do your editors find these great sites; the answers to users' questions?" "Umm we use Google."
Source: Marketing VOX