What it is: A search engine for the wee ones. Why, you ask, do children need their own separate search engine? Our first thought was that search upstarts are so eager to nab share they're trying to lock in potential customers early. But, explains Yakov Sadchikov, co-founder and president-CEO of the fledgling company, it's because of Quintura's visual and intuitive nature that it identified kids as one of the initial user communities that would find it most appealing. Quintura launched in early 2006 using "visual semantic maps," which are rather similar to tag clouds.
What it's learned: Kids would like to find exactly what they are looking for as easily and as quickly as possible, Mr. Sadchikov said, but they often don't know how to create a search query. Quintura provides them with hints via an interactive tag cloud for easy navigation and search. Kids also may have trouble with proper spelling and grammar, and Quintura claims to account for that as well. Kids can also use icons representing animals, science, sports and music to further refine their searches.
The ad angle: There isn't one right now. But Quintura plans to add contextual advertising to its adult version in late 2007, and limited contextual ads could pepper the kids' version. The big picture here is how web companies -- from upstarts to major players such as Disney and Viacom -- are beginning to realize how web-savvy kids are, tailoring games, social-networking sites and now search to them. Advertisers can, and should, do similar things.
Coming up: Quintura isn't stopping with kids' search. A new adult version will launch in February, and the company is planning to launch Quintura for Women.