Monday, 01 January 2018 02:07

This Search Engine Startup Helps You Find What Google Is Missing


As conversations continue circulating around the state of online privacy and protecting personal information on the internet, the growing need for more secure web platforms is an area of concern for consumers and creators alike in the digital age.

Over the past year, an increasing number of headlines have called out global media and tech giants like Facebook and Google for using biased algorithms, promoting false news stories and being manipulated by corporate interests –there is greater skepticism surrounding these longtime sources, with individuals becoming eager to assert more control over their online experiences.

Founded in 2012, Million Short is an innovative search engine that takes a new and focused approach to organizing, accessing, and discovering data on the internet. The Toronto-based company aims to provide greater choices to users seeking information by magnifying the public’s access to data online.

Cutting through the clutter of popular searches, most-viewed sites, and sponsored suggestions, Million Short allows users to remove up to the top one million sites from the search set. Removing ‘an entire slice of the web’, the company hopes to balance the playing field for sites that may be new, suffer from poor SEO, have competitive keywords, or operate a small marketing budget.

Million Short Founder and CEO Sanjay Arora share the vision behind his company, overthrowing Google’s search engine monopoly, and his insight into the future of finding information online.

What is the void or opportunity that inspired the idea behind Million Short?

Sanjay Arora: Search is too important for a function to be controlled by a handful of companies, and I don’t believe the science and art behind searching has been perfected. There is still a lot of room for innovation in the search space – new algorithms, user interfaces, new sorting filters and much more. A tremendous opportunity exists. Why do we allow a very small number of companies to control the knowledge we can gain from the Internet? I believe the world needs options for search engines. I’m truly passionate about our mission, which is to guide people on the road less traveled by providing alternate methods of organizing, accessing and discovering the vast web of information that is the Internet.

What were some of the challenges you faced in the early stages of your business?

Sanjay Arora: The single biggest challenge with Million Short is challenging the current thinking that search is a solved problem. People generally don’t think twice about their search provider and the algorithms behind the search results they get served. However, I do, and on a daily basis. I think too much about the lack of options with a search. Most people will tell you that they are happy with Google’s search results but when you start talking to them about potential features that Google is missing, their minds open up. We receive feedback every day from our users who tell us how Million Short has allowed them to discover content on the Internet that they were unable to find using traditional search engines.

Walk through how the search engine works and in what ways it benefits users?

Sanjay Arora: With our mission in mind, we see Million Short as a deep web search. Users perform a search just as they do with traditional search engines, however, Million Short users control the nature of the search results. For example, Million Short users have the ability to remove popular websites from the search results (i.e. top million), which in turn allows them to discover authentic content which would otherwise be buried in hundreds of pages of search results.

Describe your business model and what are the core components that drive what you do?

Sanjay Arora: Determining a business model has been one of our biggest challenges. We are still ironing out the details of our business model. The obvious route would be generating revenue through advertisements. We’re okay with that, but we have other ideas for generating revenue. For example, charging B2B users for using Million Short, to licensing our API to provide Enterprise search solutions to businesses.

What have been some of the biggest blind spots in the space and how does your company solve for them?

Sanjay Arora: I think the biggest blind spots in the search space is that the lack of choice. Not only is that lack of choice reflected in the number of search engines, but the search engine results themselves. Google commands the lion share of most search markets globally, and that in and of itself is the biggest blind spot. We hope that the features and innovation we are working on will get us that much closer to the solution.

How do you measure the success and impact of your company?

Sanjay Arora: Our team of developers is extremely passionate about providing the world with an alternate search engine. We consider ourselves successful and having made an impact when we receive feedback from our users as to how Million Short was able to assist them. This also comes in the form of feature improvement suggestions (happens pretty much every day!). Ultimately, increasing the number of users and of course, generating revenue and a profit would make us successful in a more traditional manner.

How has your past experience as an entrepreneur shaped your approach to building and running Million Short?

Sanjay Arora: I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. Both my B2B SaaS company and Million Short are based on the underlying premise of providing an alternate search mechanism and giving users control of their search results. With my first company, I’ve been lucky enough to see the benefits of working on ideas that I am truly passionate about. I’ve learned that determination, patience and surrounding myself with talented people combined with a little bit of luck leads to good things.

What are your keys to being both scalable and sustainable within such a traditional yet evolving industry?

Sanjay Arora: Thanks to the cloud, scalability with a search engine is the easy part. Sustainability though is much harder. To me the key to sustainability is agility, ie. how quickly can we develop & launch new and useful features, how well can we innovate.

How do you see your company evolving in the next 3-5 years and what impact do you hope to make in the industry?

Sanjay Arora: I see Million Short evolving in terms of features. A version of Million Short for kids is in the works – having 3 young kids of my own and seeing how they use search in the classroom, and the recent issues with YouTube have made me even more determined to launch this version. Hopefully, if we execute our development and marketing right, Million Short will become a household name in 5 years.

Source: This article was published By Julian Mitchell


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