Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Interview with Klaus Gubernator, Chmoogle
In the constant quest for the next frontier in Internet search, new companies continually pop up looking to be the next Google, or to provide an aspect of search not covered by existing search engines. Today, I have an interview with Klaus Gubernator, CEO of Del Mar-based eMolecules, creator of Chmgoole, a new search engine focused on the chemistry field.
Ben Kuo: Explain to me what Chmoogle does, and how is it useful to chemists?
KG: Chmoogle discovers, curates, and indexes all of the public chemical information in the world, and makes it available to chemists worldwide. It provides a user interface that is appealing to chemists and performs substructure and exact structure searches at unparalleled speed. It presents results in an appealing manner using and high-quality chemical drawings. It provides links to the original data source as well as to other useful resources of information about individual molecules.
BK: Why did you decide to come up with a specialized search engine for chemical molecules?
KG: The language of chemistry is chemical structures. Existing search engines index text, but do not understand chemical structures. We created Chmoogle to provide chemists with their own resource that speaks the language of chemistry: chemical structures.
BK: How is Chmoogle different from PubChem and other chemistry-specific, non-commercial search engines?
KG: Academic chemical databases like Pubchem, Chembank, Zinc and ChemDB are very valuable resources providing access to research results in chemical and biomedical research. However, by providing access to a subset of the chemical information through interfaces with specialized functionality, they are complementary to our search engine. Chmoogle aims to provide access to all of the public domain chemical information and make it searchable through a high performance search engine and a general purpose user interface. Therefore, most chemists will first search Chmoogle, and then visit other resources for more detailed information.
BK: How is Chmoogle supported, and what's your business model?
KG: Just like other text search engines, Chmoogle places advertisement to the right of the search results in an unintrusive manner. In addition, our company offers customized web service solutions to chemical businesses.
BK: What's your background, and how did you decide to create Chmoogle?
KG: eMolecules, Inc., the creator of Chmoogle, has been founded by myself, Craig James (both San Diego) and Rashmi Mistry (London). We have offices and development staff in both locations. We consider ourselves veterans in the cheminformatics field. I have been active in pharmaceutical and biotech discovery projects for two decades, at Warner-Lambert-Parke Davis in Germany, at Roche in Switzerland, and at CombiChem and Senomyx in San Diego. Craig is a computer scientist and has been a senior software developer at HP, Daylight and Accelrys, implementing state of the art cheminformatics solutions. Rashmi, also a computer scientist, is the founder Modgraph, a provider of Chemical registration systems to large pharmaceutical companies.
We decided to create Chmoogle because the information revolution pioneered by Yahoo, Google and others was not available to chemists, since the text search engines cannot search by chemical structure. Chemical information on the internet only becomes useful when all of it becomes searchable on a single platform.
BK: Finally, what's the next step for Chmoogle?
KG: The next step for Chmoogle is to discover more chemical content on the internet, and perform this task in a more systematic and automated manner. We are also working on an "Advanced Search" mode that provides users with powerful tools to manipulate hit lists and maintain them between sessions.