Redeye VC

Josh Kopelman

Managing Director of First Round Capital.

espite being coastally challenged (currently living in Philadelphia), Josh has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – an Internet information company. In 1996, Infonautics went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

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Monthly Archives for 2010

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Google - The next vertical search engine?

Since First Round Capital has a few vertical search engines in our portfolio (Krugle - a search engine for developers; and Biggerboat - a search engine for entertainment), I've been spending a lot of time recently trying to understand the vertical search space. 

What I've been most interested in, however, is Google's approach towards vertical search.  While a lot of attention has been focused on the recently launched Google Co-op -- which allows Google users to create a search engine for a customized collection of content -- I think that not enough attention has been focused on their OneBox feature.  I think Google OneBox is a pretty decent attempt to create vertical search functionality inside of Google web search.

If you're looking to book travel, you could go to vertical search engine like -- or you could just enter "PHL to SFO" in Google and you get a travel OneBox on top of your search results.


If you're looking to read books on global logistics, you could go to Amazon or -- or you could just enter "global logistics books" into Google and you get a book OneBox which lets you read the actual content from several books that discuss it.



Looking for news on the Iraq War?  You could go to a news site or news search engine -- or you could just enter "Iraq War" into Google and get their top headlines.




Looking to research a stock (say Microsoft)?  You could go to a financial search site like Hoovers or Quicken to get some info -- or you could enter MSFT into Google and get their finance OneBox.


Looking for a person?  You could go to Switchboard, ZoomInfo or LinkedIn to do a person search.  Or you could just type in someone's name and city in Google and get their phone number and even a map to their home.


Shopping for a product online?  You could go to a price comparison engine like or Shopzilla -- or you could just enter the product into Google and get links to their product search results.


Looking for a place to eat?  You could go to, DineSite or CitySearch -- or you could enter the restaurant name into Google and get complete information including reviews.


The list continues -- whether you are looking for pictures, Movie times, weather, a calculator,  or medical information, Google has a vertical search OneBox to answer your question.

I think that vertical search engines can still succeed if they offer additional application-specific features/navigation that differ from traditional search-box functionality (like Krugle) or if they focus on syndicating their results across other sites (like Biggerboat).  But Google's actions have real consequences for vertical search engines -- and I'm surprised that there has been more discussion around Google Co-op than Google OneBox.  By implicitly determining a user's intent, Google is able to take standard queries and filter them to their vertically focused sub-sites.  Am I missing something or does this have real impact on the vertical search space?