October 05, 2004

web 2.0: contrarian search bet from snap

At Web 2.0… Bill Gross just introduced Snap, a new search site from Idealab. I’ll contribute to the blog pile on with a few quick notes…

1) Snap is a big contrarian bet against Google aesthetic. Search results are presented in a very rich, reasonably heavy set of controls that enable the use to filter and sort results. They’re going to enable advertisers to create rich presentations for their products – bucking the “text ad” trend that the goog pioneered.

2) Snap is a huge bet on increasing user sophistication. The current version of the UI is, shall we say, advanced. (If you like X1, you’ll like Snap.) Depending on what you’re searching for, the system could return results in two panes – one where they’re trying to be reasonably smart about what you’re looking for, the other for more “raw” results. (Try it on a search for “new car,” for example.) The type-ahead filtering is slick, but I don’t see my Mom “getting it” initially.

3) The transparency thing is intriguing… They’re making public all of their user stats, including search volume, page views, number of advertisers, paid clicks, and revenue. If it works, it could provide the incentive for ad buyers to buy on Snap. If it doesn’t work, it will provide a fantastic dashboard for journos and bloggers looking for a quick stat… Battelle brought up an interesting point, that Idealab company Overture pioneered transparency in cost per click, and people hated that for the first year of its life…

4) Oh, and I almost forgot this one. Isn’t Snap a very Web 1.0 name? Think back…way back.