TechCrunch reported today that visual search engine SearchMe is (temporarily) closing its doors. This is pretty disappointing to us. From what we’ve heard, SearchMe was a pretty cool product with some real potential. I find it especially ironic (in a bad way) that the site now redirects to Google. Search is not a solved technology, and for companies like SearchMe to not be able to find enough traction to keep going hurts the industry in the long run.
We never got the chance to talk to the folks at SearchMe (I’ve tweeted Adams to see if he’d be interested in us as way to cut down on crawling costs, though that seems unlikely since they appear to be re-focusing on a different market), but I’m guessing we could have helped them out. I found the following quote particularly interesting:
So the plan now (unless a buyer or white knight jumps in at the last moment) is to significantly downsize, take the site down for a while (probably tomorrow) and refocus the tech in a space where we don’t have to have 3,000 servers costing a million a month to run on the back end.
I’m sure most of that 3,000 is not for things like crawling and processing web content, but I’m betting some of it is. The infrastructure requirements of getting into the search game are so daunting that it makes it very difficult to just to throw your hat in. I’ve told a lot of people that Google’s main advantage is not its technology, but its operational costs. It can deliver at a lower cost than anyone else, due to its sheer size.
We’re hoping 80legs puts more than a few dents in that barrier to entry.