Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Aardvark's Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz Speak (Plus a Tour!)


Earlier this week, BoomTown motored over to the San Francisco HQ of Aardvark, the social search engine that has been the subject of much attention since it was founded in late 2007.

While there, I got a tour of the 30-person start-up, which has raised a total of $6 million from August Capital and others to perfect and distribute its service.

Aardvark uses social networks, such as Facebook, to get relevant answers via email and instant messaging. It also has a Web version.

In many ways, Aardvark is yet another version of the iconic Six Degrees, mixed with Yahoo Answers or expert sites, a cup of Twitter-like sociability, and completed with a big dollop of algorithmic calculation.

Its founders, including Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz, worked at Google (GOOG) and wanted to try to solve the problem of data that cannot be easily reduced to a keyword query.

At least that’s the goal of the innovative Aardvark, unless it ends up selling itself off to any of a wide range of companies, from Google to Facebook to Yahoo (YHOO) to Microsoft (MSFT) to IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), to differentiate that company’s lagging Ask search service.

Or not.

Ventilla tries his best not to answer that potentially multimillion-dollar question in this interview with Horowitz.

The video also includes a tour of Aardvark, whose offices are, of course, called the Mechanical Zoo.

Here’s the video:

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