Skip to Content

Google Acquires Social Search Engine Aardvark

The search giant is aggressively pursuing social features.
February 11, 2010

Google wants social features very badly, it seems. Damon Horowitz, CTO and co-founder of Aardvark, an interesting search startup that integrates social interaction and artificial intelligence, has today confirmed reports that the company has been acquired by Google.

I wrote recently about the company’s approach to search–Aardvark uses artificial intelligence to find the right people to answer a user’s query. It then trusts those people to provide the desired information and refine the query as needed.

I’ve used Aardvark a great deal in the months since, and I’ve found it invaluable for answering questions that benefit from human guidance or opinion. It’s a great place, for example, to ask “How do I get started making electronic music?” or “What’s a mind-blowing novel of first contact?”

Aardvark claims more than 90,000 users and clearly has very promising technology. But I do worry about what Google plans to do with it. Aardvark works well partly due to close integration with Facebook, and Google doesn’t seem to be on the social networking company’s, ahem, friends list. Google may try to transplant the technology onto one of its own social structures, such as Google Talk. In that case, the company could face some backlash from users, similar to some of the early negative reactions to the automatically generated social networks for Google’s new product Buzz.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.