Newcomer Twiggle recently took a sizable step toward legitimizing itself as a contender for the e-commerce search throne. As reported by Venture Beat, this Israeli startup recently announced a funding round that earned it a tidy sum of $12.5 million, which should better position the company against the likes of A9, Amazon’s own search engine.
To put the competition in perspective, A9 has been around for more than a decade. Amazon’s search and ad-tech subsidiary powers all internal searches on Amazon.com using a search algorithm that takes into account a product’s recent sales, verified reviews, page content and other Amazon-specific factors when delivering search results. Besides Amazon, the technology behind A9 has also been used by some third-party online retailers.
While Amazon is unlikely to look outside its own product, those third-party retailers present an opportunity for a startup like Twiggle. This company’s technology helps supercharge the search capabilities currently available through these online retailers. Twiggle uses complex and advanced systems, including artificial intelligence, machine-learning techniques and natural language processing to enhance searches.
So what makes Twiggle different from A9? One key factor is that Twiggle’s technology is designed to convert potential customers into paying customers by getting the most accurate results for each search, time and time again. That means turning up better results for extremely specific, long-tail searches to get potential customers the exact products they want at the click of a mouse. With these technological capabilities, that might extend to options like inputting a photo of a product into the search engine and getting results of similar items or typing in ultra-specific, nuanced descriptions and digging up a corresponding item.
It’s not exactly clear what this technology is capable of just yet since it’s only been rolled out to a number of large e-commerce retailers so far. But with an impressive first round of funding and interest from major players in the industry, it looks like Twiggle will be able to carve some room out for its ecommerce search offering — just how much of that will come out of Amazon’s share remains to be seen.