Google has made us be used to having everything organised, within reach and with minimal effort; it is probably the most accesible large database of anything in the world right now. But Google, as do other classical search engines are just that: a general, keyword-organised index in which you most likely have to end up looking for the deep search results pages to get where you intended to - especially if you're not one of the more experienced users.
At What's With, we have a strong feeling that one of the next trends in the tech world will deal with niche search engines, and aggregators of such search engines; basically, we're talking about making things much more accessible for the everyday consumer - although technology and the Internet are spreading more and more from year-to-year (growth occuring at a rate of about 3% out of the total population worldwide per year), people cannot all become specialists at anything, and in particular not to search engine functioning. It is this market, of regular users, that SimilarTo may very well appeal to.
The rules of SimilarTo's game are simple: you enter a search query for either your relevant site or actual search words related to the object of your interest, and the back-end algorithms crawl for websites similar to what you've searched. Each result has its own percentage of similarity to what you've searched, and the options to decide whether it is actually similar or not - which helps improve the search engine - or choose one of the subject tags that the website is assorted with it, in order to view more relevant results in a specific area.
SimilarTo and other sites like it may not replace Google. But they may attempt to improve accesibility to accurate results for specific domains. As has happened with social media niched networks or specialised e-commerce websites, a notable boom for niche search engines will occur some time soon. In the meantime, SimilarTo bridges the gap between traditional and more specialized search engines.
For idea novelty, we give them 4/5.
For design, we give them 4/5.
For user experience, we give them 4/5
For potential to scale, we give them 3/5
OVERALL GRADE: 3.75 out of 5. Marketing possibilities are a big "if" here, but sufficient interest may appear from common-day users.