Gerry Campbell was at Alta Vista and later spent several years in the search unit of AOL before joining Reuters as “President/Global Head of Search & Content Technologies.” Among other roles, he was an advisor to Summize, acquired last year by Twitter. And now Campbell has joined “real-time” search service Collecta as CEO.
Collecta hasn’t launched yet. But Campbell made clear to me that he didn’t see it as a “Google killer” or replacement for web search. Collecta is focused on the emerging arena, now getting lots of buzz, called “real-time” search: delivering content within minutes of it being generated — largely on blogs and social media sites.
Campbell and I spoke about the challenges of doing it well and the potential business models and industries that would be interested. He says he’s been thinking about the space for quite some time and has a number of ideas about how to improve the experience. While it might work as a buzz tracker or popularity index, Twitter Search is relatively poor as a practical tool in my opinion. I believe however that there’s a significant opportunity in mobile for real-time search or a variation on that idea: help/answer engines. But there are clearly other applications as well.
It’s clear that “real-time” search is a new category that will continue to attract attention and investment. But it’s not clear whether genuinely useful products and services will emerge yet (though some would aleady dispute that).