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Eric Auchard (Reuters) profiles a new social search engine, Kaboodle (sort of like Jeteye but simpler). It looks very interesting, but what will be its fate?

One has to ask the broader question (with all the new launches recently): What will happen to all these new engines and tools, and where will they ultimately wind up in a marketplace that is dominated by Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL? The needle isn't really moving.

As A9's Udi Manber has said, "Search isn't a solved problem." Yes, that's true. But even he can't get much consumer traction at A9 (backed by Amazon), despite doing lots of innovative and interesting things.

These many small companies aren't going to grow up to be Google or Yahoo! because Google and Yahoo! simply won't let that happen. And consumers have limited attention and capacity to use all these new tools, regardless of how cool, interesting or even effective they may be. Ironically, the more new tools that proliferate, the more that (in my view) reinforces usage of the incumbents.

The more confused I am, the more I do what is familiar and tried and true. I notice this in the way I now consume news online. I used to go to tons of news sites. Now that more and more information and tools are available, I'm using fewer sites. It's kind of paradoxical.

In verticals there is still opportunity (e.g., Healthline) and, I would argue, in local too. But the plan (and hope) for many of these novel applications in blog or general search can only be to be acquired by the incumbents.

This town isn't big enough . . .


Re Kaboodle, specifically, Om Malik has some extensive comments and sees it primarily as an online shopping aid.

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