Valleywag has the scoop: (or should that be rumor?) Jason Calacanis, best known for his time starting Weblogs Inc, is entering the search game:
the next venture is a search engine. Calacanis, we hear, has already hired about 20 engineers to work on the project. Begun in the poolhouse of his Santa Monica home, it recently moved to an office nearby. Sequoia isn’t merely giving him shelter while he comes up with a new idea; Roelof Botha, Calacanis’ patron at Sequoia, has already committed the funds. Former associates of Calacanis, such as Mark Cuban and Jonathan Miller, his former boss at AOL, are also backing the venture.
They go on:
It’s a cross between Wikipedia and Google. Calacanis’ new site will create more digestible search results for popular queries such as the names of Hollywood stars, and tech products. The pages will be seeded, initially, with content gathered automatically from the web and other sources. But they will be open to contributions by readers. Sounds like Wikipedia? Yes: except Calacanis will employ paid editors to oversee the pages.
Sounds a bit like Topix to me, lots of content, initially from external sources, then added to by humans, great content for other search engines. The search part only comes into play if the content on the site becomes authoritive to the point that people will actually visit the new site to search for things. It logically cant be a search only play if it generates its own content, search engines don’t generate content, they index it.
One to watch.