Magazine article Information Today

Finding Items Hidden in the Shadows

Magazine article Information Today

Finding Items Hidden in the Shadows

Article excerpt

When I heard about Shadows, the new search and blogging tool that Pluck Corp. (http:// www.pluck.com) unveiled in October at the BlogOn 2005 Social Media Summit, I decided to give it a try. My search topic? Boots. (Hey, if I have to wear winter shoes, they're going to be cute.)

Now, Shadows really has nothing to do with boots. It did, however, connect me to Web sites that other shoe-loving members of the Shadow community recommended and let me read their comments about those sites.

What Is Shadows?

Shadows is the creation of Pluck, an Austin, Texas-based company that was cofounded in 2003 by Dave Panos and Andrew Busey. According to the company's Web site, Panos and Busey are "two executives with entrepreneurial experience in some of the industry's earliest efforts in instant messaging, real-time collaboration, e-commerce, and e-learning."

Panos, who is the company's CEO, was previously a co-founder and executive vice president for B2B eCRM provider Question Technologies. For 7 years, he was also vice president of marketing and business development at Web collaboration pioneer DataBeam.

Busey, the company's executive vice president, founded iChat, the chat and instant messaging company that powered the initial Yahoo! chat service and that is now part of Apple. He also founded Living.com, the e-commerce company that brought furniture sales to the Internet.

According to Panos, "In life, it's clear that our best sources of advice, information, and entertainment are the people we meet along the way. Shadows reconnects us with this natural order-putting us in touch with the people that are powering the Web-moving past our exclusive reliance on algorithmic search."

Shadows connects users to Web pages that the Shadows community finds valuable. It also facilitates an open conversation that is linked to any page on the Web.

Key features of the service include:

* Shadows Pages: These pages create a blog behind every page on the Web, enabling users to discover points of view, find related information, and join in the conversation.

* Community Search: The Shadows community is actively tagging, rating, and commenting on pages on the Web. When visitors search Shadows, their answers come from that collective pool of information.

* Developer APIs: A comprehensive Application Programming Interface (API) allows third-party developers to integrate Shadows' services into Web sites and to build new components that extend Shadows' functionality. …

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