Roll your own Google

Google released their co-op search engine last week. Over the weekend I put together a quick and dirty test that I’ve been adding sites to over the past few days. Give it a whirl here if you’re interested. Search for something fun like “fuel cells”. Then go back and do the same thing at google.com.

You quickly see the power of federated search- it cuts out on the noise and allows you to focus on relevant information. (This is one of the key benefits one of our portfolio companies, Magpie, offers.)

I have been using the Swicki on my site, which is a federated search engine as well, however I’m not sure the Swicki can get into some of the sites that Google appears to be able to index.

If user generated content is the topic du jour – does this mean that user generated search will be the next Big Thing?

Roll your own Google

Google released their co-op search engine last week. Over the weekend I put together a quick and dirty test that I’ve been adding sites to over the past few days. Give it a whirl here if you’re interested. Search for something fun like “fuel cells”. Then go back and do the same thing at google.com.

You quickly see the power of federated search- it cuts out on the noise and allows you to focus on relevant information. (This is one of the key benefits one of our portfolio companies, Magpie, offers.)

I have been using the Swicki on my site, which is a federated search engine as well, however I’m not sure the Swicki can get into some of the sites that Google appears to be able to index.

If user generated content is the topic du jour – does this mean that user generated search will be the next Big Thing?

More Firefox Mods- Cocomment

home_users01.gifI’ve been using the Cocomment extension for Firefox since mid-August. In case you’re unfamiliar with Cocomment, the service lets you track your conversations around the web- “coComment keeps track of all the online conversations you’re following in one convenient place, and informs you whenever something is added to a conversation.”

I’ve complained about blogging being broken before, and cocomment really helps overcome the conversation problem. Because they’ve made an extension that integrates with Firefox, they’ve effectively idiot-proofed the service, i.e. if I try to post a comment on a blog, the extension asks if I want to start tracking that conversation.

Just another slick piece of code that makes life easer.

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Blackout London

I just picked up on this event listing called Blackout London:

For one day in November (4th November), we are asking everyone who receives this message to think about what they can turn off, switch off and unplug, to show support.

We want the power demand in the United Kingdom to reduce so much that the newspapers are obliged to report it.

We want the lights to go out in London, so that on the evening of 4th November 2006, the dimming effect will be visible from space.

Apparently, the dirty secret of the Hydrogen Economy is that energy conservation will have as much- if not more- of an impact as any switch to renewable energy sources.

If you live in London, switch out the lights this Friday evening.

London vs New York

Talking with a friend at Citigroup last night, he agreed fully that London is now the financial center of the world. I’ve known for a while that AIM has outstripped NASDAQ in IPO numbers, but hadn’t fully appreciated that more was raised publicly here than in NY (via TechCrunch UK):

London has already surpassed New York in terms of IPOs. According to the article, this year, through September $33.6 billion (US) was raised in London compared to $26.5 billion (US) raised in New York and London is predicted to beat New York again in 2007.

It’s the US’s fault that London is taking over, and as my friend quipped last night- “if the costs associated with being public in the US aren’t bad enough, you still have the “Bush Factor”- which might mean your assets are frozen at a whim.”

It’s also of interest that London is the center of venture activity for both the UK and the EU- something like NY and Silicon Valley combined…

Firefox Mods

Google’s Browser Sync has made me switch to Firefox. Having cross-platform bookmarks has proven to be very useful. That said, I still miss the Cocoalicious goodness of an application written in Cocoa for Mac OS X and have been considering going back to Safari for OS X.

However, I found two extensions over the weekend that are keeping me interested in Firefox: Fission, which re-creates Safari’s progress bar inside the address bar (I don’t use the Staus Bar in Firefox. The Status Bar is disabled by default in Safari and I’ve gotten used to the extra 1/4″ of screen real estate). The other is Stop-or-Reload button. Again, this mimics the two-in-one simplicity that Apple brings you.

If you’re using Firefox and are a previous Safari junkie, I would recommend you grab these two extensions.

VC Investment in Clean and Alternative Energy – Q3

The recent data from the Venture Power newsletter shows Fuel Cell investments totaled $243 million YTD, up from $100 million in 2005. This growth figure is misleading though- the investment into Ion America by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Mobius and NEA for $103m skews the growth by a wide margin. However, Fuel Cells investments have still shown a healthy 40% growth rate. There were 14 investments in total, including London Seed Capital’s investment into Fuel Cell company, Bac2. Other sub sectors showed 50%- 100% investment growth, which does look like (irrational?) exuberance…

Our investment into Bac2 was for more than their fuel cell technology though. The company’s electrically conductive polymer is an enabling technology and has applications in aerospace, electronics and the semiconductor industry in addition to Fuel Cells. Bac2 is a great example of the type of investment opportunity that I find very compelling: a binary investment in a company targeting a billion dollar market initially, with secondary applications in large markets where you can still make substantial returns.