The first company I met today was Faroo. They are from Germany and Gosia Garbe, the CEO, gave me a quick update on their progress.
Garbe started development on Faroo more than 6 years ago and launched during Techcrunch40 here in San Francisco about a year ago. They are based in Germany. It is a P2P search engine that users install on their PCs, is free to use, as quick as Google and even can earn you some money as revenue is shared with users.
Garbe told me she was slightly disappointed with user adoption (actual downloads) since they launched.
Unfortunately the application only works on PCs and isn’t supported on Mac and Linux and there is no way to test the actual search engine without installing the application first. I can imagine that this requires too big a leap of faith for most users.
The idea of P2P search is interesting though. Google reportedly spends 2 billion a year on their server infrastructure. If a search engine would be able to move all that data to the end user thereby speeding up the service and saving huge amounts of money that would give them a huge edge.
The question is how to entice these users to start contributing to a product that won’t prove its benefit until you start contributing. A chicken and egg problem that Faroo is eager to solve.
[reported live from the AltSearchEngines event]