An Italian computer professor who inspired Google has launched a new search engine and social media network that he hopes will challenge the US technology giant.
Dubbed "Volunia", the search engine allows users to look at bits of particular websites to find the subject of interest more quickly. It also allows you to chat with registered users who might be looking at the same web pages.
Massimo Marchiori is from the University of Padua. Padua is a city which is a bit like Venice, only there is no water in the streets, which is why its gondoliers have sprained wrists.
Marchiori came up with the algorithm for the internet page ranking service "HyperSearch" in the 1990s and used to teach at MIT. Marchiori is a bit of a hero in Italy because he came home from the US where he was earning a bomb and now gets paid rubbish Italian wages of just 2,000 euros a month. Still, the food is much better.
He told the Italian press that the functions available on Volunia would soon become normal on all the major search engines including Google and Yahoo.
Volunia, which has a US copyright, was only launched to selected users on Monday and will be rolled out more widely and in 12 languages including Arabic, English, Japanese and Russian over the coming days.
It will be funded by selling advertising space.