It’s a web search, a local-language search, it’s a city search, it’s a movie-timing search, it’s a music search…it’s a…oh wait. It’s Guruji.

Guruji.com, launched as India’s Google with the backing of Sequoia Capital India, appears to still be searching for its calling. A few weeks ago, I noticed adverts online for their music search, which they have since gone public with. Now, the music search itself is quite well developed – there appears to be a large database of songs, those like me doing a random search are given selection to pick from, songs are rated according to popularity (of search, I presume), and there is additional meta information about the singers. Do note that the music search is English-only, for Indian songs – a search for Santana, gave me songs by Santhana.

However, Guruji appears to be crawling sites that may not have a license to play those songs. We know that T-Series and their digital content partner Hungama have been very active in the past year, with cases against YouTube, Yahoo and Rediff, and like Cerius mentions, this search will probably help them identify pirates. Lets just hope that, despite claiming no responsibility for the content (screencap), the platform (Guruji) doesn’t get involved either.

But I think the larger issue here is the role that Guruji is trying to play in the search space, and the apparent lack of uptake of their services (comparison). I do believe that Guruji chose the right path with local language search, instead of taking on Google head-on, but the lack of growth of local-language content, and Google developing its own local-language search, probably robbed Sequoia and Guruji of an exit route. Let’s see if they break even by the end of 2009, and reach their Rs. 20 crore revenue target.