Focusing on what works, Google shuts down Aardvark

Google’s doing a bit of house cleaning today, announcing on its blog that it’s shutting down a handful of properties and projects, including a big one they shelled out $50 million for. Social search company Aardvark is getting the axe just 18 months after being acquired.

For Startups, Some Good News From Google

Google spent $145 million buying nine companies in the first quarter of 2010. And it seems the company is looking to open its wallet even wider as it continues its shopping spree. That is good news for web startups.

The Aardvark Theory of Product: Fake It Till You Make It

The secret behind Aardvark’s success was acute awareness of how close they were to failure, Aardvark co-founders Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz said Friday. They detailed a process of rapid idea rejection and extensive testing throughout Aardvark’s short startup history.

Google’s Acquhire Binge

What do collaboration toolmaker AppJet, social search manager Aardvark and email search appmaker reMail have in common? A trio of little startups, they all have been acquired recently by Google (s GOOG) and they were all founded by former Google employees.

Aardvark to Answer More Questions With Vark.com

aardvark_200x30Aardvark today expanded its answer service beyond its iPhone and instant messenger application offerings with the launch of Vark.com, a social search web site. Unlike Yelp and Yahoo Answers, Aardvark’s service lets you tap into your social graph to get answers to your questions. The launch of Vark.com also provides monetization opportunities for San Francisco-based Aardvark, which CEO Max Ventilla said has up until now been more focused on improving the quality of its product. Read More about Aardvark to Answer More Questions With Vark.com

Aardvark Launches an iPhone App

aardvark_200x30Aardvark, a San Francisco-based startup that touts a web-based answer service, today released a similar application for the iPhone that will let you ask friends in your social graph questions on topics, such as recommended restaurants or books, and receive answers directly from your Apple (s appl) handset.
The philosophy behind the service is that your friends have a wealth of knowledge you can tap into, and Aardvark helps you conduct a search of these peers to find answers to your questions. This makes it stand apart from web services like Yelp and Yahoo (s yhoo) Answers, where you rely on the advice and opinions of people you don’t know. Read More about Aardvark Launches an iPhone App

Search: Social Or Algorithmic?

Many of us spend large parts of our day searching for information. After spending the weekend at Social Web FooCamp, I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about how I search for information using a combination of social and algorithmic methods. When I talk about “social search,” I am referring to using your network or other human beings to find information. In essence, you are relying on the knowledge of other people, instead of using Google or another search engine, which uses algorithmic methods to determine the best results.
Algorithmic searches, on the other hand, are great for finding information when you know enough about a topic to formulate a strong query that will return highly relevant results. These searches work best for me when my question has little ambiguity and when I know enough about a topic to formulate a good search query.