Quintura.com plans visual search expansion

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Following its recent launch, visual search engine Quintura.com plans to release a specially designed interface for market-specific sectors.

Yakov SadchikovYakov Sadchikov, co-founder and CEO of Quintura (picture by Darren Straight), told TCUKI today: “As a next step, we are going to release Quintura’s visual navigation/search web services for Women and for Kids.” Sadchikov recently demonstrated the site at MediaTech’s startup showcase and at the Firefox party.

Last month the largely Russian startup (it’s legally based in Alexandria, Virginia, but has software development operations in Moscow) received a “significant amount” of venture capital from Mangrove Capital of Luxembourg (an early-stage investor in Skype), ABRT Venture Fund and the partners of OpenView Venture Partners of Boston. Although Quintura claims to be the first Internet Russian company to receive investment from a Western VC, this seems highly unlikely. The funds will be used to market the site more aggressively.

And more is planned.

The Quintura service (both generic and image search) is currently powered by Yahoo XML feeds. But in fact, Quintura can work on top of any search engine as a visual presentation layer. To this end Sadchikov says they are also “now testing a feed from blinkx, a video search engine.” Visual video search would give Quintura an edge most other niche search services don’t have.

So why is Quintura quite a cool site? Visual tag clouds are quite intuitive to peruse and help users refine their search terms. This makes searching a less frustrating and faster experience. It also introduces more discovery into the process as your surf from one visual cloud to another. i.e a picture paints a thousand words.
Quintura displays an interactive visual cloud of related keywords and phrases in one half of the screen, while below it displays traditional search results. As you mouse over a tag, it displays related keywords and dynamically updates the results as you click.

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Users can also save and share their find results: an affiliate program will allow sites to make their tag clouds interactive. Saving a search means a user could set up a pre-set search cloud and let visitors drill down further.

No mention has been made of how Quintura’s investors will exit, but our take is that visual search could almost certainly be useful for the major search engines and they will either develop their own or buy firms that have good IP in the area. Quintura is known to have a sophisticated algorithm behind its system.

Quintura has also recently been covered in Business Week and was named as one of the world’s hottest startups in the August issue of Business 2.0 magazine.

Update from Yakov: “Our deal was the first Western VC investment into Internet company from Russia. I know this very well since I used to own the Russian financial online deal database that I sold to Euromoney.”

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