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Sproose looks to goose the search biz

Call it a marriage of social networking and search. Sproose goes live Wednesday, the latest entrant in an increasingly busy field.

You old-timers once traversed the Internet using search engines like Alta Vista or Inktomi. Then came Google and it was point, set, match. But one constant in the history of this business is that that no front-runner has a guaranteed lock.

So it's been fun watching the emergence of a burgeoning class of start-ups including the likes of Spock, Wink and (coming next month), . On Wednesday, the final version of Sproose goes live.

This search engine adopts a slightly different tack, borrowing on the social-networking model to display its rankings. Call it a spin-off of the wisdom of the crowds approach. Users will be able to vote for video and text search results, thus voting upon the reliability (or popularity) of a given result on Sproose. The more votes, the higher the ranking. The fewer the votes, the lower the ranking.

I'm sure the system's inevitably going to run up against wisenheimers who try to game the results. But that shouldn't pose an obstacle if enough people participate. If it works as anticipated, community vetted rankings may prove quite useful. Something like Yelp but for Internet searching.