Hammer Time

Who can resist the opportunity to talk about the new search engine venture announced yesterday by of all people the rapper M.C. Hammer?

 There are so many ways to come at this announcement, most of them humorous and pun-laden. Indeed, the announcement seems to have been more interesting to the entertainment press than the tech press.

 The details are sketchy, and the site itself is "pre-beta" (which may or may not be the same as "post-alpha"). We do know the site is named WireDoo (which my spell checker wants to correct to "weirdo") and its tag line is "search once, see what relates."

 WireDoo is described alternatively as "deep search" and "relationship search." The goal, apparently, is to provide sort of a split-screen search results page: traditional links on the right, and content that is related, but that wouldn't normally come up in a search of the word or phrase being searched on the left. Sounds intriguing, especially since so much of this related content seems to be data-oriented: percentages, statistics, ratings, lists, etc. A search for "car," for example, might pull back related data on operating costs, MPG, insurance costs, unit sales, etc.

 It's an interesting if not entirely novel concept, where success lies in execution. If Mr. Hammer can pull this off, I think he's entitled to crow, "U Can't Touch This," because this type of automated curation has inherent value in providing context and, if you remember the early days of search, you'll remember this term: serendipity.

 Intriguingly, most of the other search engines launches (DuckDuckGoBlekko) employ a reductive strategy designed to filter and focus search results. Mr. Hammer arguably looks to expand search results, but with a high degree of relevance.

 M.C. Hammer joins the growing list of celebrities (think Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake) who are investing in technology, a sure sign to some that we are in the late stages of a tech bubble. That view is only reinforced when Mr. Hammer, when asked why he is investing in a new search engine of all things, replied "Why not swing for the fences...no one is playing for singles in the Valley anymore."

 New search engines, tech bubbles, celebrities ... mix it all together and you get one thing for sure: complexity. And it's exactly this complexity we'll be tackling head-on at DataContent 2011 -- just two weeks away. Don't miss this unique opportunity to sharpen your understanding of where things are headed --register today!