IceRocket Takes on Google

Who’d have thought that, at least a couple of years after people thought the search engine battle was over, companies old and new are fighting for your searches and eyeballs. Of course, it helps that Google have shown that there is money to be made out of a successful search engine after all.

Talking of Google, Mark Cuban has invested in a start-up, IceRocket, in the hope that they can beat them at their own game.

Any search engine appearing on the web today has to do considerably more than just retrieve pages featuring the words you typed into a little box, and IceRocket hope that they have a range of features that will change the whole search market around.

IceRocket’s offering looks, shall we say, rather like Google and uses a combination of the company’s own search technology, plus a meta-search agent that queries other engines. After all, why not take advantage of the fact that some of the larger engines have already done much of the cataloguing for you?

I tested IceRocket’s image search – and am still laughing a bit. Naturally, I thought I’d look for a picture of myself. The results for “Fraser Lovatt” were basically thumbnails of an enormously fat man, and a trombone. Yes, that is entirely wrong – thanks for asking. Looking out the window, I tried for further inspiration – and searched for images of pigeons. That search also turned up a very fat man and a trombone. As did a search for cars. Early days yet, though, eh?

Now to the good bit – the web search seems to be very good indeed. It found loads of things that even I’d forgotten about. I tired some of my favourite, regular searches on Google with impressive results. The image thumbnails of the page that your result features on is very useful and provides a lot of information to help you decide whether or not you want to visit that site.

IceRocket also has an email search agent – searches can be emailed to the engine and the results are sent back. Handy for PDA users. A blank email to with “monkey furniture”in the subject line returned five reasonably relevant results a few seconds later.

As Marc Cuban says on his blog: “So try it out and let me know what you think and if there are any other features you would like to see added.. If we can do them, we will !!! This is just the beginning, Watch out google, here we come :)”

One to watch out for.


Marc Cuban’s Blog

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?