Greplin Grabs $4 Million From Sequoia For Social Search

This is timely given all the hand wringing this weekend over search innovation. Greplin, a search startup that we first covered last year, has raised a $4 million venture round from Sequoia Capital. Sequoia partner Greg McAdoo has also joined Greplin’s board of directors. Googler Peter Chane also participated in the round.

The company indexes and lets you search your online social stuff – Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, etc. Just give Greplin the authorization to index the various sites and in a few minutes it’s all indexed and searchable.

This is the other half of search, we wrote when it first launched in beta.

The service was very, very early back then. It crashed almost immediately after launch, said founder Daniel Gross. Instead of “monkey patching,” as he puts it, Greplin put a hold on adding new users and rewrote the back end from the ground up. It now performs admirably, I can tell you, for the couple of thousand people who have access.

And later this week the rest of you will be able to finally use Greplin, too. Gross says they’ll let everyone in on the waiting list and open to the public in the next few days.

Greplin also has a revenue plan in place. Indexing many services are free, but some of the more business oriented stuff – like Yammer – will need a premium upgrade. And if you index too much stuff on Greplin they’ll begin to charge as well. Or you can trim the amount of information indexed, like leaving out really old stuff.

For a long time Greplin didn’t work properly for me. But I kept coming back to it to look for a message when I wasn’t sure if I got it on Facebook, Twitter or Gmail. now it absolutely flies. And it’s a must-use service for anyone with a robust online life.

What I don’t get is why Google, or someone, hasn’t done this before. It’s a no-brainer way to get in front of the social parade, and Google should have been on top of this. One reason why they haven’t may be that Greplin needs unprecedented access to the services it indexes. And it may be unlikely that Google could hope to be digging that deep into Facebook, for example. This may be one service that just has to be done by a small startup that can play off all the politics involved. And once they’re big enough, it’ll be too late to stop them.

Another amazing thing about Greplin – they’ve done all this with a tiny team, just five people. And three of them have been hired in the last few weeks. That’s a lot of product for just a handful of engineers.