Google said today that it has acquired Aardvark, a small start-up that hones in on specific searches by tapping into the knowledge base of real people. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
When you need an answer to a very specific question, sometimes the information just isn't online in one simple place. For example, let's say you want to know if there's snow on Skyline Boulevard on a given day or the best time of year to plant beans in the Bay Area. You might find weather reports and planting guides on many different sites, but for these kinds of questions, a person with the right expertise can be a lot more useful than a webpage...
Aardvark analyzes questions to determine what they're about and then matches each question to people with relevant knowledge and interests to give you an answer quickly. We're very impressed with the Aardvark team and the technology they've worked hard to build, and we're looking forward to collaborating to see where we can take it.
It will be interesting to see where Google takes this. One of the biggest criticisms of Google, largely from startup search engines that want to do it better, is that there are too many results when you type a query into Google. The Aardvark approach offers an interesting twist.