Webaroo is launching a new permutation on Web search, with a free service that scours a subset of the Web without a live Internet connection. Of course, the simple twist is that Webaroo allows users to download onto a laptop or mobile device, such as a smart phone, focused and algorithmically derived portions of the Web, called ‘web packs,’ for PCs (no Mac yet) on a variety of topics, such as sports, news and localities. Some human editing is applied to build packs.
According to company co-founder and CEO Rakesh Mathur (also a co-founder of Junglee, which was sold to Amazon before the bubble burst), the general idea is to take a one million gigbabyte index and compress it to 40 gigabytes and solve for both relevance and coverage. Rather than finding millions of hits for a search like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, Webaroo's technology attempts to index pages that are high quality, broad coverage, and small size, he said.
Mathur told me that Webaroo judges results in terms of "quality per unit of gigabyte," "most value for the storage size" and "more bang for the memory buck." Webaroo downloads come in three sizes--small, medium and large--to accomodate the storage and memory limitations of different devices. The Webaroo search content is updated everytime a user goes online. Webaroo opens its door for downloads at 12:00 AM PST US on April 10.
Acer is going to bundle Webaroo in it's mobile PCs, which is a nice kickstart for the company. Later this year, Webaroo will introduce adaptive capabilities, personalizing the search pages delivered based on passive analysis. Webaroo's business model is selling contextual ads.
Of In recognition of the appeal of taking the web offline, Acer today announced it plans to bundle the Webaroo software on its laptop PCs worldwide.
Webaroo has about 50 people, based in Seattle, Santa Clara, Mumbai, and New Delhi. None in Australia, land of the kangeroo. Finding good names must be getting tougher...