Yahoo has acquired my favorite search browser plugin for Apple Safari, Inquisitor. Inquisitor is an extremely useful search refinement and search aid tool for the Apple browser market. Inquisitor offers autocomplete, refinements, suggestions, and also allows you to add any search engine you like, plus create your own personalized and advanced query operators, much like OpenSearch.
I spoke with Ariel Seidman, the director of product management for this product, and he answered a number of questions I had about the acquisition.
David Watanabe is the developer behind Inquisitor, and he is also the developer behind a few other popular Mac products, including Acquisition P2P, NewsFire RSS, and Xtorrent P2P. I asked Ariel if Yahoo is just buying Inquisitor or all the assets of Watanabe. Ariel told me Yahoo is only buying Inquisitor.
David Watanabe will work for Yahoo as an independent consultant for an unspecified amount of time. The reason is to enable Yahoo’s developers to learn the product and help with future upgrades. Watanabe should have more information about his role at Yahoo and what this means for current customers at his blog.
I asked Ariel Seidman why they have decided to acquire the product. He said the answer is basically threefold. First, the way inquisitor handles inline results, especially for navigational queries is very clever. Second, the search plugin allows people to easily integrate 3rd party search engines. Finally, it will expand awareness of Yahoo Search with the Safari browser market.
Seidman explained that Yahoo will be changing Inquisitor to default to Yahoo Search as the primary engine of choice. Yes, you will be able to change the default setting at any time. So if you prefer Live or Google, you can change it to those engines or add your own.
Ariel Seidman said he personally has been using the product since August 2007. He championed the idea of acquiring it at Yahoo and Vish Makhijani, the general manager and senior vice president of Yahoo! Search, backed him. Vish is also a huge fan and user of Inquisitor and supported the idea of acquiring the tool.
Inquisitor is currently monetized through voluntary donations and embedded Amazon affiliate links. Yahoo will remove the affiliate links and stop accepting donations immediately.
Inquisitor will remain a standalone product and continue to be a separate brand from Yahoo. The inquisitorx.com domain will continue to be the location where you download the plugin and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
I asked Ariel if Yahoo would somehow incorporate any of the technology from Inquisitor into Yahoo Search. Ariel said, “it is fair to say that Inquisitor DNA” can show up in Yahoo products in the future. He did not give any specific examples of how or when, but said it was possible.
Finally, Yahoo would not disclose the acquisition price, nor did Yahoo expand on any future applications of Inquisitor outside of what I have mentioned above.
Finally, if you are an Inquisitor fan, I wrote a detailed post on tips on how to customize Inquisitor. It may be of help to some of your Safari users.