Worio’s Ali Davar and the future of search

Today on the Georgia Straight’s blog, Worio‘s CEO Ali Davar shares his thoughts on the future of search. Yesterday, I had a chance to speak to Davar who heads what is essentially a commercial spin-off from UBC’s Laboratory for Computational Intelligence and they may be on to something big with their personalized web search.

Worio combines automated web-scale tagging, algorithms that enable discovery, and personalization to help you “discover what you’ve been missing”. Davar believes that search is now mature and while the keyword search model perfected by Google will survive, discovery is the next step as systems begin to understand what user are interested in on the web. Davar’s complete article is worth a read but here’s couple quotes to whet your appetite.

Web search has evolved from a mere curiosity in the 1990s to a central part of our everyday lives. Since this transformation, searching the Web hasn’t significantly changed. Has search hit its maturity phase, with only incremental improvements to come? Or are there significant leaps of innovation still ahead? Looking at recent innovations in search, the question is not whether there will be a major shift but what it will consist of.

It’s tempting to believe that the search problem is fixed because of just how far we have come—anyone who recalls the pain of navigating Yahoo’s topical directory will attest to this. Yet just as we believed that search was “good enough” before Google, we see history repeating itself now. Nascent areas of development such as discovery tell us that there is still much low-hanging fruit. Semantic search points toward possible fundamental technological improvements to search. And the tremendous success of Twitter demonstrates that change does not even have to come at the hand of significant new technologies. Keyword search as we now know it will likely remain central to our search experience for many years to come, but it is certain that what we mean when we say “search” will evolve to encompass a much broader and more interesting set of technologies and experiences.

Vancouver-based Worio was founded by Davar in 2005 while attending law school at the University of British Columbia. Thanks to $2 Million in angel funding and grants from Canada’s National Research Council, Precarn and MITACS, they’ve been working on Worio for two years and have grown to 10 employees in Yaletown.

Davar is looking to secure an additional round of VC financing continue building awareness, come out of beta, add scale and more full-time staff.