There is obviously lots of innovation happening in the search space. Luckily, I have 2 portfolio companies that I respectively invested in during 1999 and 2000 which survived the nuclear winter and are having an opportunity to contribute to this innovation by helping make search better and easier for users. One is Gurunet which delivers a better search by giving users answers instead of links via desktop tools or through its website at Answers.com. See Fred Wilson's post for more information on Gurunet and Answers, as this week was a big one for the company. First, Walt Mossberg wrote a nice review on Thursday and yesterday Search Engine Watch announced that Google is using Answers.com as its definition link at the top of every results page.
Another portfolio company, Moreover Technologies, has a real time information management platform that delivers breaking news from the web and blogs. As an early pioneer in RSS, Morever did a great job repositioning its business during the downturn and selling its information feeds into the enterprise and powering other search engines with news feeds. Recently, Microsoft announced that it was going to allow users to add RSS feeds to its MyMSN service powered by Moreover. You can read more about it here. You can also get Moreover's feeds through a number of RSS readers like Pluck, Feeddemon, and Newsgator. As it relates to 3 RSS readers just mentioned, Moreover plans to monetize this distribution by delivering ads through RSS. As a blogger, I have definitely looked at a variety of business models in the space and am a believer that RSS ads is one way to go. There has been lots of conversation about how much more valuable a subscriber is vs. a visitor in terms of relationship building, and I hope that the ads will not turn away end users from valuable content. Either way, it is great to see Moreover helping bring news and RSS to the masses via these deals.
To both companies, I want to say congratulations for sticking though the tough times. Your hard work is beginning to pay off now.
Full disclosure - I am an investor and on the boards of both companies.