It has long been my personal dream to see Google's Larry Page wearing brightly patterned trousers and dancing uncontrollably.
I may have to make do with a man who will happily wear brightly patterned trousers and dance launching a search engine.
This is precisely what occurred today at the Web 2.0 Summit when the legend that is MC Hammer presented WIREDoo, a little engine that could go far. For its motto appears to be "deep search." (Or, perhaps, "relationship search.")
How did Hammer define deep search? Put succinctly, better search. This doesn't necessarily mean better than Google. Although, the more one listens to Hammer presenting WIREDoo, the more one imagines that he would absolutely adore it if you thought it was better than Google.
It's just that saying those words--rather than, say, "U Can't Touch This"--might make him look slightly silly.
The product itself isn't silly at all.
As the demonstration captured by Information Week shows, deep search is all about immediately presenting search results that relate to the word you have searched--not merely direct searches of that literal word.
So if you WIREDoo "90210" you'll get results that might include the schools in the area, the homes, the crime rate, and the shopping.
On the other hand, if you google "90210" you get almost a whole page that is about Brandon, Brenda, and their descendants. Yes, Hollywood proved that it was possible to descend from the original "Beverly Hills, 90210."
When presenter John Batelle asked Hammer how he got involved with WIREDoo, he explained quite beautifully that he comes across all sorts of things, being a local.
"I spend a lot of time with young upstarts," Hammer said. Did he mean startups? I think not.
It is quite hard, these days, to find a different way to address search. Google is powerful and people are very lazy.
One mistake, though, that competitors make is not finding a name that captivates--something that Google found entirely by accident.
Who can remember Cuil? Who can remember how to even pronounce Cuil?
So one question with WIREDoo (which is still in pre-beta) might well revolve around whether you would enjoy telling your friends that you "WIREDoo'd" something. Or would you say you "WIREDid" it? Or would you feel uncomfortable saying either?
It is often on these simple battlefields that so many new ideas die.
MC Hammer surely knows this. What if he had put on those extraordinary pants, rapped his way through "U Can't Touch This," and explained that his name was Stanley Burrell? Which it, in fact, is.
Would anyone have gone out and bought anything associated with him?