Recently I came across a search engine which was new to me called MSE360. I tried it out and was impressed that a search engine I have never heard of could be so accurate. It is not perfect mind you but it isn't bad for a newcomer to the scene.
When you search, you are presented with a lot of information. You get typical search engine results and the top Wikipedia and blog entries on the left. On the right there are image results and even some ads tucked away in the bottom right hand corner.
An MSE360 search for IP Communications
The page design is busy but at the same time pretty comprehensive. I thought it worth learning more so I conducted an email interview with Daniel Clarke from the company. Here are the results:
Tell me what differentiates MSE360 from the others?
MSE360 is a dynamic project and by that I mean that we hope to never stop creating cool and really useful features for the site. I guess that I should start with the core concept of the multimedia search with the multimedia results displayed in separate columns on a single page.
This is not a "mash up" of data from Yahoo, Google etc simply regurgitated on to a page, but a unique system of searching for and making the required information available to the user. One of the most interesting new technologies incorporated in the MSE360 is the Unique Indexing System allowing "deep and really super fast" indexing of the web sites by our really talented Web Crawler called Fred!
Then there is our Unique Algo providing an increasingly fast response to a query.
Also the very popular Virus Warning for the user, with a Virus Warning Icon placed next to any web site that has the possibility of being infected with a virus.
Privacy of our users is a major concern for us and so, we do not store any user information, other than the key word. Other engines store a substantial amount of information about their users under the banner of improving their services, when really it is to improve their profit margin by targeting adverts.
And our image search. We are feeling better about the image search which uses another unique search system. The image search which was not an easy task I am happy to tell you that it is getting better and better every day :) .
There are many more really cool features but more importantly, there is a lot more cool stuff to come. So please keep your eye on MSE360!
Where does the name come from anyway?
The name along with the concept of the multi search with the multimedia results displayed in separate columns, on a single page, came from one of my two partners.
What role does a toolbar play in search engine accuracy?
In many cases the tool bars are now being used to grab user data for example toolbars automatically reporting sites the user visits to a web crawler.
We believe that there has got to be a balance between the convenience and privacy. As far as making the results more relevant and accurate, we believe that the accuracy and relevance of the results is something which really has to be enhanced and controlled by a server side function.
How are you monetizing your endeavors?
At this stage of our development, revenue is not a concern. Our focus at this time is to try and create a great search tool for our users.
We expect to launch our own Advert platform as well as other possible ideas regarding this subject in the near future. At this time, we do have some ads on the site by adsense but that is mainly for research purposes.
Who is funding your company?
All of the funding up to now, has been provided by the two majority owners of the search engine project -- my partners in this endeavor.
My partners are currently exploring further sources of funding for the project, including the possibility of a public floatation in the US. However, there is no indecent haste involved in this, as we would much rather seek public funding with an already working project under our belt, rather than offering only a dream and a lot of hope to the prospective investors. :)
Mind you, I am sure that because we have had to keep within a very tight budget, it has helped us to be even more innovative and creative in our technology and knowhow.
Where does your company stand with respect to each search engine competitor?
There are some very good search engines out there and I would be less than honest if I said that I did not respect Google. The original fire in the belly of the founders that had helped them in creating one of the best search tools may well have cooled down a little now, but it is still a great work of technology.
There are other good search tools and then there are some search engines which well, could be better than they are :) .
Personally I use some other search engines as well as MSE360. In the 21st century the users need to learn to use more than one search engine.
Will people switch search engines and if so, what will make them do so?
In answer to this, I would like to take you back to our unique and useful features, as described as a response to your first question. But I think the real reason that I may switch any service that I am using would be that the new service provided exactly what I wanted, as quickly as possible.
Additional really useful features would also be a consideration. I would also be concerned about my private data being held and possibly being passed on to others.
I believe that during the year 2009, MSE360 will increasingly become a destination of choice for many, many users of the web.
What is the toughest thing about going up against Google?
To try and get enough people to sit up and take notice of the new kids out of another garage, so to speak, who could well have something that could change the world, just as the founders of Google did with their little project back then.
And of course Google is a good product so as in the case of Avis, we will have to try harder. :)
What are you doing to increase your web traffic which Alexa pegs at around 460k?
At this time, we are mainly spending all our efforts towards enhancing the feature set of MSE360. We expect the traffic to grow slowly over this year.
I think that it is better to keep the level growing naturally rather than getting "forced traffic" due to a spurt of publicity which would inevitably decline after the end of the PR campaign.
However, we are planning a steady stream of user based PR at this stage of our development, which tends to produced a more stable traffic to the site.
What are your company's objectives in 2009?
Our main goal is to complete the current stage of the development of the project by adding the planned new features to the site. We believe that after the completion of the "first stage" of its development, MSE360 will be one of the very best search tools anywhere.
I really can't go into too much detail about what new and cool features are to be added to MSE360, as we've already had a few of our ideas stolen as soon as they are publicized. But needless to say 2009 will be a very interesting year, so watch this space!
One of things that I do not mind disclosing though is that we intend to let the user customize MSE360 as much as possible. We would really like the users to make the search engine their own.
What can Obama administration do to help tech in the next four years?
Washington really needs to be taught about the Internet. I think in the next 4 years Obama and his Administration need to set in stone Net Neutrality.
They also need to fund a large scale improvement of the fiber network in America. China is quickly becoming a source for new tech companies, and if America does not act fast it will be hit of the top spot.
Most importantly, the Internet must not become just another arm of the enforcement division of the Government, by recording every move that everyone makes while in the cyber space.
However that being said, the developers of MSE360 are based in Singapore, UK and the US. So we have to be hoping that the governments all over the world would prove to be more web friendly this year than they have been up to now.
What strikes me about this project is that it seems to be coming out of a garage and still provides good results. Years ago there was talk about Google not having any barrier to entry and over the years instead of losing search share it gained it. This led some to hypothesize that the company's position in search is virtually impossible to breach. But if this is true, how do you reconcile a company of a few people with limited funding coming up with a search engine that isn't that far off in terms of results? Obviously I didn't check every keyword but the many I tried were impressive. If Google gets a 10, MSE360 gets a 6.5-7.
An MSE360 Search for News
To gauge accuracy I tried searching for the term news and the results were MSNBC, Google News, CNET, CNN, Citizens Voice, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, etc. Like I said... Pretty good.
An MSE360 Search for Tehrani
A search for my last name pegs my blog at number six while Google had it at number five. Not bad. And then again, who is to say my blog even belongs on the first page (Daniel it really does ;) ).
I invite you to try the search engine in yourself. I have no vested interest in its success - except the part of me which thinks competition is good and the underdog deserves a more than fighting chance.