A few weeks ago, @wajam tweeted me this: “Loved your piece on social search, we couldn’t agree more! Can we send you an invite to Wajam so you can see what we’re doing?” To which my response was, “Of course you can!” Two days later, I was on the phone with their Co-Founder and CEO, Martin-Luc Archambault.
Wajam is a search plug-in that makes search more personal by adding results from your friends to your favorite search engine. Assuming you get an invite (there should be a few more on that link), you can connect Wajam to your Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious accounts. Upon doing so, Wajam imports all of the links that have been posted amongst your friends and followers, and lets you find this content in Google and Bing when you need it.
For example, let’s say I want to search for Wajam.
You’ll notice that at the top appears a relevant tweet from my new friend Alexandra — the phenomenal Community Manager who originally contacted me about Wajam. That result is not from Google my friend, that’s all Wajam baby. It does this same thing for every search you ever do in Google or Bing, allowing you to discover both social and web content all in one place — which is the key ingredient to Wajam’s potential success according to its Co-Founder Martin-Luc.
During our interview, Martin-Luc made it clear that Wajam is not out to overthrow today’s search juggernauts, but to enhance them. Wajam’s results are particularly useful in situations when your friends’ past experiences and knowledge is needed. For example, if you’re looking for a plumber, you would trust the recommendation of a friend over that of a search engine. Therein lies the true value of Wajam.
Beyond the results, Martin-Luc believes Wajam is poised for success because its not a stand-alone product. “It’s been proven that on average people use 7 websites daily. If you’re not one of those, you won’t get traffic,” he said. That’s why Wajam plugs-in to existing search engines. In doing so, users don’t have to change their daily surfing habits. All they have to do is wait a minute for Wajam to install, and from then on out it’s with them for every search. This is what differentiates them from their competition (Topsy and Greplin).
In a previous interview with Topsy, their Co-Founder Rishab mentioned the struggles that social search products have faced recently due to lack of profitability. Speaking with Martin-Luc, he didn’t seem too concerned about his business model. In order to keep their doors open, Wajam will eventually charge power users — those with thousands of followers — a few dollars, however the common user will never have to pay thanks to the support of advertisements.
Looking forward, Wajam is working hard to fix any glitches and collect user feedback before their upcoming public launch. From there, their focus will be on acquiring users and implementing their search functionality beyond Bing and Google.