Wade Roush of Xconomy last week wrote, "In tech journalism, it’s inadvisable to call any company 'the next Google.' It’s almost always breathless hype or marked naïveté. After all, people have been predicting the search giant’s demise for nearly as long as the company has existed. I wrote a Technology Review cover story called 'Search Beyond Google' nearly 10 years ago. But with unlimited brainpower and money at its disposal, the company has managed to stay at the forefront in search, while also getting very good at other things, like mobile hardware. So when I tell you that a seven-employee company called Diffbot really could be the next Google, I need to be very specific about what I mean."
Roush continues, "I don’t mean that the tiny Palo Alto, CA-based startup is going to put Google out of business. In fact, Diffbot may already be partnering with Google. And there’s a good chance Google will just acqui-hire the startup at some point, thereby preempting the very interesting branch of the timeline where Diffbot gets big on its own. And I don’t mean that Diffbot is going to redefine the search business. Not the search business as we’ve known it, anyway."
He goes on, "What I do mean is that Diffbot is poised to help the consumer and business worlds make sense of today’s more diverse Internet—one that takes many more forms, and is being put to many more uses, than the Web as it looked back in the 1990s, when Google was born. Diffbot’s business is to use a combination of crawling software, computer vision, and machine learning to classify documents on the Web and break down each page type into its component parts. (The startup thinks there are about 20 of these types.) This allows people or programs to ask very specific questions about those parts—questions that can’t be answered very well using traditional search technology."
Image: Courtesy Diffbot