Khojguru for Gurgaon launched

Khojguru - isko sab pata haiMy ol friend Jayant, told me yesterday about launching Khojguru, a local search engine. He’s a hardcore techie, so what else will he do anyway?! I know he and his friends have been working on something like this for a while, and I must say they’ve done a neat job.

Khojguru is a local search engine which provides information about all the shops, vendors and service providers in a city. As of now it has information for the city of Gurgaon. He says they’re already getting data for other cities. So, we are going to see more cities getting added to the list soon.

What sets it apart from a lot of similar initiatives is its simple interface, richness of information and a focus on plugging all the information gaps.

Simple interface

The home page is very simple and elegant. There is a search box asking the visitor to put a query in it. The query can be for any area in the city, any product/service, any brand or any shop. The search returns with results pretty quickly.

I like the fact that they’ve not tried to reinvent the wheel and followed known and accepted search mental models. When I saw it first, I screamed “it’s so Googlike!” But now I understand that there is no point in making people learn how to use a new search interface to do search when they are already so familiar with Google. Full marks on usability!

Each search result takes the visitor to a unique page for a merchant/vendor/service provider.

Along with the simplicity of the results, the colors used are very pleasing to the eyes, everything is very well spaced out and all the relevant links are within the screen eye span.

Richness of information

Every unique page has detailed information about the vendor. It shows name, address, market, location, contact information, how to reach the shop, work timings, key offering, products & services offered, brands offered, facilities, special offers and discounts, web URLs, merchant comments, other offices and branches and testimonials by users.

What really sets it apart is the detailing. One can find online menus for getting food home delivered, the rate lists etc. There is information about late night stalls. You will no longer need to run from shop to shop asking for a pet accessory shop or a key maker for that matter.

Along with this there are maps to assist you on how to reach the shop.

Focus on plugging the information gap

There is a solid feedback mechanism in place. On every search result page you can find a feedback link. If you are not satisfied with the results or know that there is missing information, simply send feedback. They seem to be very focused on meeting user needs since they reply back personally and take necessary action promptly.

Moreover, for each unique page there is a testimonial section. If you know about the shop/vendor/service, you can tell everybody else how good or bad this merchant/vendor/service provider is.

Check out the Khojguru Blog to stay current.

All in all this looks like an amazing initiative. A great package fueled by good and fast search algorithm and a solid data bank. Just give it a try and you will know. Its Khojguru – isko sab pata hai!

Uzanto is hiring

UzantoMy company, Uzanto, is looking for solid software engineers.

Know PHP, Ruby, Rails, MySQL, CSS, HTML, Javascript? Come along. Dont know Ruby/Rails? No worries – we’ll teach you! Having a personal or professional project to show off. Great! Freshers OK.

Read this to know more about the opportunity.

Yea, you get to work on SlideShare!

Send in your resumes to me at kapil@uzanto.com or to amit@uzanto.com.

Share your slides with SlideShare

SlideShareTechcrunch says SlideShare rolls out today in beta. Wow!

SlideShare is an online tool to share your presentations. You just login and upload your presentations to SlideShare, add some tags to it, and in a few moments, they will be viewable by the whole world. Yes, it’s that simple. And once it’s shared, other people can comment on your presentations. More wow!

Thing which I love about SlideShare: you (or anyone) can embed shared presentations anywhere – on blogs, on websites, on portfolios, on conference pages etc etc. Click here to see an example. Watch my ‘Using MVC for AJAX Apps’ talk here. I uploaded it to SlideShare and then embedded it on my blog. Neat! Here’s another example:

Another cool feature: you can watch presentations in full-screen mode. While watching a presentation on SlideShare, just hit the ‘full button’ on the player and voila, it will blow up! Presentations look really nice and crisp when viewed in full-screen.

There are many presentation authoring and sharing tools available but they are pretty complex. SlideShare solves the problem of sharing presentations. Just what Flickr does to photos or YouTube does to videos.

As of now, you can upload PowerPoint (ppt), PowerPoint Shows (pps) and OpenOffice Presentations (odp). If you use Keynote, just save your presentation in ppt format and upload. We are going to add support for more formats soon!

Currently, SlideShare is an invite-only system. You can join only if you have invitation. Send me an email at kapil AT uzanto.com if you want an invitation or, request one here.

We have been working on this for a while now. The application is built in Ruby on Rails and you have lightweight Flash players to show the presentations.

Check out the SlideShare Blog to know more and stay current with updates. Here’s Jon’s post on SlideShare. Here’s Rashmi’s post. Here’s Amit’s post. Here’s Vish’s post.

I will keep adding more links to posts about SlideShare here in this post.

So, what are you waiting for? Go. Upload.

Working Out Makes You Play Better

{smug}{smug} Yes, its been a week now – I’ve started going to the gym near my place. Its kinda costly, but its worth it. Actually I grew really fat (and ugly) and wanted to get my slimmy interface back. So, decided to sweat it out. But thats not what this post is about.

I realized that working out in the morning not only helps you get your body in shape etc but also sets the right positive tone for the day ahead. Earlier, everyday passed with a guilt that I am doing nothing to get in shape – kinda depressive state – and that coupled with other niggles effected me as a whole. But now, with that one big guilt gone, my outlook towards the day ahead and life in general is changing. Also, somehow, flexing muscles in the morning forces the mind to think in a positive, swift and agressive fashion.

So, all those who want to break the bar – rise and rise early. Work out. Cuz it will make you play better!

Amit launches Webyantra

So, well, here we have the first Indian blog which promises to talk about Indian Web 2.0 startups. Amit Ranjan, my colleague and Uzanto India head has launched Webyantra, which is a blog where he will profile Indian Web 2.0 startups. Cool. A need well served.

I have been closely following Barcamps and was present at the Delhi one, and there is no doubt that there is a lot of cool Web 2.0 stuff happening in India. I am sure Amit will have his hands full on writing. Kudos and all the best to him!