Having the title Ex-Googler is probably a good thing if you’re in the startup business. Twitter, after all, is run by ex-Googlers. That credibility worked the old hype machine for Cuil, too, until it couldn’t perform. Bindu Reddy and Arvind Sundararajan, ex-Googlers, suggest it’s a bad idea to take on Google where Google is strong—like Cuil did with search—but taking it to Google where it is weak can work.
And so they’ve fairly quietly launched Likaholix in private beta.
Likaholix is a recommendation site where people can, very simply, makes lists of stuff they like. Products, businesses, websites, people, music, movies, whatever. In order to “like” something, a person can enter a link or search for it, and the search engine there will bring back sites, photos, videos, product reviews, etc., regarding the subject, and the person can choose things to add to the file they create for their liked thing, along with their own commentary.
Our ex-Googlers have been smart to make this a standalone, closed off service, and have made it very social, very interoperable with other sites. Users can invite friends from their email contacts and social networking lists, they can share their likes with Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed, and they can also import 4 and 5 star reviews from sites like Amazon and Yelp.
What Bindu and Arvind have created here essentially is a user-generated walled garden. And that may be very exciting for people. In the same way Google rolled out Gmail, Likaholix is in private beta and will rely on invites for a while for testing.
There’s a fascinating article at Mashable by Jennifer Van Grove (hot) :) exploring why Googlers like Bindu and Arvind are leaving the company and starting their own sites. The most interesting takeaways:
1. Google’s too big, rigid and slow for good ideas outside of their core to get traction. That’s why creative, innovative Googlers leave.
2. Search is a bad idea if you want to threaten Google. (Right, Microsoft?) Google is weakest, because of number one, in the social and real time search arenas.
3. Bindu Reddy says Facebook and Twitter, not Microsoft or Yahoo, are Google’s biggest threats.