After Volunia’s public beta release, founder Massimo Marchiori shared with Sean Carlos on Search Engine Land the reason of its early release. According to Marchiori, they released the social search engine to gather user feedback. After a week of exposure, they collated all relevant data they can use to understand their users and enhance the service.
Search Result Quality and User Interface
Volunia slowly granted access to 100,000 out of 400,000 users who signed up to manage server loads. The users pointed out two major criticisms about Volunia: Low-quality search engine results and poor user interface.
Marchiori explained that the social search engine has only indexed about one million sites with the help of open directory, Dmoz. In order to expand their international coverage, sites that are considered important in their home countries were manually added. Thus, the team will work to improve their index coverage and search engine results. They will also revisit their user interface.
Contact Import Option
Since Volunia users start with a clean slate of friends list, they would want to have a contact import option. That way, they can easily invite their friends to use the social search engine and add them as friends. Meanwhile, they offer a people search function. But its usefulness will depend on the privacy settings and completeness of a user profile. It’s deemed that an email address-based people search feature, added with a little bit of Facebook’s known attributes, can do the trick.
Incompatible Sites and Framed Content
Another noticeable drawback about Volunia is its incompatible social features menu bar with certain sites such as, Google and Facebook. Available for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, some websites reload without the menu bar, while others just don’t load.
On the part of website owners, the incompatible behavior is prevalent. Others can frame their content, which is something that they don’t like. The people behind the social search engine are studying how they can enhance their toolbars. As of the moment, website owners can white list Volunia by updating their anti-frame logic
Marchiori pointed out that he doesn’t want Volunia to be a Google competitor, but a complement to other search engines. If a user is not happy with the results presented by the social search engine, a browser extension is available which they can use on other sites. This enables a user to open Volunia’s menu bar in any browser tab. Regardless of its downside, Marchiori definitely has a clear vision of the social search engine’s future.