While Google still dominates the search-engine market with little signs of slowing down, many are trying to take a shot at the title, or at least get some decent market share. Some are shoving boatloads of money, others are taking a mathematical approach or even trying a human touch. A newly launched search engine, ImHalal
, has a different approach altogether, while not necessarily going after Google, by offering religious Muslims an option that is in line with their beliefs.
The new search engine filters the searches so as to only show the results that are considered to be “halal,” or allowed, according to Islamic Law. ImHalal, literally meaning “I am Halal,” will place the queries that it believes to be “haram,” or forbidden, into three categories, depending on their severity. For those in the first two categories, the users can still see the results if they believe they will be clean, but for the ones that fall in the third one, the search engine advises them to change their search terms.
“Imhalal is not a dictatorial or censorship website, we want people to be able to continue their online search. We use a two-layer system, first of all the search engine analyses the content fetched by Imhalal.com and all websites that contain explicit material will be filtered out. Some websites will still be fetched and there the secondary, more aggressive and progressive filter kicks in and that is when you will see the haram level,” Reza Sardeha, the site's founder, said.
Sardeha also added that the company had been consulting with Imams, Islamic religious leaders, to determine what was haram and what wasn't. The founder hopes that the site will become the homepage of every Muslim user and the site also plans to offer a great search experience, not only a “clean” one. The Arabic market has tremendous potential, as more and more Muslims go online, with others, including Yahoo, investing
in services in the region and dedicated to the Arab world.