T2: Judgment Day for Twine?

Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of Radar Networks, just released a preview (see above) announcing Twine 2.0, a semantic search engine to be released later this year. As Erick Schonfeld points out on TechCrunch, Twine hasn’t managed to attract broad adoption. I tried it briefly when it came out, and I have to confess that I never understood it.

But I can certainly see the appeal of delivering faceted search for the web to support exploratory information seeking. It’s the dream that’s been driving Bing, Freebase, not to mention smaller efforts like Kosmix. It’s hard, to be sure. But, as Sarah Lacy tells us, startups are supposed to be changing the world–and established companies can play too.

The demo video is appealing, but I’ll believe it when I can off-road on it–and on more than just recipes and restaurants, two highly structured domains that already well covered by sites like Food Network and Yelp. Twine doesn’t necessarily have to cover all domains to be useful–perhaps a “short snout” approach like Bing’s will be good enough to drive adoption.

In any case, I’m impressed with Twine’s ambition. But ambition isn’t enough–especially given the increasing number of people and companies who share it. If Nova really wants to build a “World Wide Database“, then he’ll have to do more than swing for the fences and miss. I’ll be waiting for a beta invite, and I’ll let you know what I find out.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.