Get updates by email or on Twitter at @hughdurkin

Bigulo, The Search Engine For Bebo

Maybe it's the global pandemic, maybe it's something else, but people seem to be yearning for simpler times - in internet terms, at least. So I wasn't too surprised this week when the imminent resurrection of Bebo was announced.

Launched in 2005 by Michael and Xochi Birch, Bebo overtook MySpace in the UK at a time when Facebook was nowhere near as popular as it is today.

It had most of the typical social networking features you would expect. Profiles, pictures, messages, groups, blogs - and a strange feature which allowed users to draw pictures on their friends profile pages. Cue a flood of adolescent Bebo graffiti - just use your imagination.

As fun and addictive as it was, Bebo was lacking in one key area - search. For all intents and purposes, search was non-existent. Two Irish university students came to the rescue.

Des Traynor (yes, he of Intercom fame) and Andrew Page created Bigulo, a search engine for Bebo. It indexed public Bebo profiles, making it super easy to search people by Name, Place, Age, or Gender. Over time, it added search options for Best Looking, Most Popular, and Most Friends.

Bigulo garnered plenty of column inches on technology websites like Mashable and in Irish newspapers. As of 2008, it received around 7,000 visitors per day each performing an average of 5 searches.

Random aside: the less-than-enticing ads were my fault. At some point I met Des in the Morrison Hotel to sign Bigulo as a publisher on the ValueClick network (which I filled with ads through an exclusive agreement with ValueClick to re-sell their Irish inventory). Celtic Tiger times for sure.

Des and Andrew eventually sold Bigulo to a U.S. investor and went on to bigger and better things.

And, of course, Bebo died a slow death.