Aardvark launched in 2007 as a question and answer service, with deep IM integration. The service has since gained a substantial following and user base thanks to a lot of coverage, solid functionality, a decent iPhone app and a team of engineers from the likes of Google, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.
Aardvark has until today been an off website application, meaning there wasn’t much else you could do from the Vark.com homepage aside from sign up and edit your profile. Today, Aardvark changes dramatically by becoming a social search engine, one that just might work.
Vark.com does away with the need for an IM program to get started. Adding a social and real-time layer to traditional search engines, vark.com features a no-frills window to present and respond to questions, surrounded by a dashboard displaying current topics. Users of the service can then answer a query, pass on it, or refer it to a knowledgeable friend.
So how does Aardvark know who to ask? When a user asks a question, Aardvark looks at that person’s Facebook profile to see who is in the individual’s extended network, and what they might be able to answer questions about, based on profile activities and interests. This means of course that you do need to sign up to use the service, but with Facebook connect integration it takes a matter of minutes. You then are sent a response via email or IM, at least that is what’s supposed to happen. In my tests I waited at least 10 minutes and still received no response to “What is the best steak house in London?”. Naturally, we expect the answers to these questions to eventually be made available to the public which is where Aardvark then creates its real value.
Aardvark was built by a team of seasoned engineers from leading technology companies such as Google, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo. It uses the latest standards and APIs, including Facebook Connect, to unlock the value of popular social networks for the everyday questions of its users.
The San Francisco company has raised $6 Million in funding from August Capital, Baseline Ventures and includes investors along the likes of Marc Andreesen and Deep Nishar as investors.