Like grizzled rock bands, old technology companies change personnel, go in and out of fashion, reinvent themselves, and sometimes return to formulas that were successful in the past.
I thought of the rock-star analogy when I noticed InfoSpace back in the news today.
As its contentious Wikipedia entry demonstrates, InfoSpace has enjoyed a colorful history, replete with an IPO, mergers and acquisitions, and a bipolar stock price that dropped from $1,305 in March 2000 to $2.67 by June 2002. Since then, the company has gone through more incarnations and reinventions than Madonna, though it doesn’t possess her marketing touch.
Enough about the past, though.
InfoSpace is looking back to the future, reclaiming and relaunching the InfoSpace.com search engine as a metasearch property that compiles and presents top results from market-leading search engines such as including Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask. (Okay, that last one might not be a leader, in the strictest sense of the term, and Bing and Yahoo are about to become indistinguishable, but let those cavils pass for now.)
To complement this standard approach to metasearch, InfoSpace will also include real-time search functionality as represented by updates from microblogging service Twitter.
The site is clean and well organized, I’ll give it that much, but I will reserve definitive judgment until I’ve used it a bit more.