The New Stuff

New search engine with a human touch

While major search engines continue to tweak their algorithms and invest on sophisticated tools and computers to provide more relevant results, a group of 40 people led by Jason Calcanis, dot-com luminary and co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., puts up what is claimed to be the “first human-powered search engine.”

Mahalo, which is Hawaiian for Thank You, is the newest search engine to grace our online experience with handpicked search results to some of the web’s most repeated requests in various categories such as travel, music, television, movies, cars, food, health, news and sports. Calacanis has powerful financial backers, including News Corp., CBS Corp., Sequoia Capital, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. The company plans to make money through online ads.

Calcanis believes that while Google and Yahoo are both successful directing their visitors to the right places, most of the results are packed with too much irrelevant sites brought about by spammers and mischief makers who manage to find their way around the robot-driven algorithms. Precisely what Mahalo hopes to address: to filter out spam and hand-craft the best search results possible.

At the moment, Jason Calcanis’ blog reads: “ is in ALPHA–that means not ready for users, but looking for feedback.” Now starting with just 4,000 web pages, Calcanis’ team aims to complete the web’s 10,000 most popular search terms before the year ends.

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