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Like the others I was disappointed there was no demo version. I thought $99 was a lot for a product I couldn't even try. Nonetheless I read a lot of good stuff about Grokker [groxis.com] and have tried other visual searches like Kartoo [kartoo.com], so I was eager to try Grokker. I did and it was worth it, especially if you are in a line of work where you can count it as a business expense and tax deduction. It is not yet a "google" by any means, but if you are covering a broad topic it lets you quickly zero in on the aspect you want. It can also give you new ideas about how to approach your search. I plan to upgrade to the "pro" version as soon as it becomes available.
I should add it no longer pulls its content from Northern Light, but Teoma, Open Directory (DMOZ), Amazon, or selected areas of your hard drive. I like the Teoma searches best and the personal hard drive searches seem to have a lot of potential but presently need some refinement as it is too hard to zero in on a specific subdirectory.
The economics of search engines mean you need to be either big to survive as a general purpose, or small as a specific niche.
The business model of this company - to charge customers for rendering and analysis of results that they don't own, is a questionable move. Reminds me of all those auction aggregators for ebay. As long as its small and drives traffic, ebay didn't mind. But when it started taknig away ebay's profits, ebay sued them and coopted all their features.
Building your own search index is a capital intensive process, but at least you own that capital. A business like grokker doesn't own much of anything - they are competing more with IE than with google. The best that they can hope for is good market penetration. They should at minimum offer a free product and periodically be bugging their users to upgrade.
I love Kartoo and Vivisimo, I use them very often and thats because they are so-called "free" and if you come to think of it - almost every search product on the web is free, except for Grokker.
Why pay money to search the web when you can search it for free?
And plus I have no what-so-ever full 100% guarantee if this is better than Google.
I think it will be a big hit in scientific, governement, university and research departments, and this is the market
they are trying for; and not the mass consummers.
No go here, as this box is running Win Me. (I'll guess a 700 Mhz Celeron would do.) If they are going for the mass market, there's a LOT of boxes out there running Win Me, and even Win 98.