Australian Mooter takes on Google

An Australian search engine that claims to be based on artificial intelligence has plans to loosen Google's market strangehold

An Australian company plans to tackle Google's stranglehold on the domestic Web search market.

The company, Mooter Search, claims it will differentiate itself by offering "users a more intelligent and 'humanised' approach to finding information" in a grab for the growing online search market.

In what it claims is an implementation of "artificial intelligence", the Mooter search engine groups together information in logical clusters, which is designed to save time.

"We have built a powerful, smarter search engine that enables our users to do more... with considerably less hassle," the company's chief executive officer, Liesl Capper, said in a statement.

"Mooter focuses on the psychology of people, not machines," the chief executive added.

Mooter Search plans to include a paid listings service with its engine, Capper said, confirming that the company was "a few weeks off" finalising a deal with a provider.

Capper remained tight-lipped about which provider that might be, but it is probable that LookSmart Australia and Overture will be near the top of the list of contenders.

According to Capper, Mooter Search has been designed to anticipate advertiser needs for more "discriminating traffic".

"Rather than just pay for any old click, we're hoping to attract users that have 'smart'; have been on the Web for a while... basically focus hard on those sorts of eyeballs," she said.

Winning the deal would be a shot in the arm for LookSmart, which recently lost around 60 percent of its revenue when NineMSN's United States portal ended its partnership with the company.

US based search-giant Google launched into the Australian market softly last year, setting up a sales operation in Sydney to sell paid searches in the local market.

Google snapped up search personalisation technology start-up Kaltix last month in line with its strategy of driving towards personalised searches.

Mooter received a federal government research and development grant, as well as an AusIndustry Commercialising Emerging Technologies (Comet) grant to assist it in commercialising its technology.

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