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High School Grads Pinpoint Problems With Other Search Engines, Create Their Own

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DURHAM — Some people choose to go to college, get a job, and work their way up the corporate ladder. Others, just start their own company, like the two 18-year-olds who createdPinpoint.comto make life on the Internet easier for us all.

These technology whiz kids are working to change the way we search the Internet. Their company is testing its new search engine with several Triangle-based Web sites.

"We don't try to index the whole Web like other search engines," explains co-founder and president Jud Bowman. "What we try to do is build topic-specific search engines."

The growing vertical nature of the Web and the fact that many English language words have different meanings is the challenge.

Bowman compared Pinpoint to other search engines by looking for "Mantle" on the company's baseball search engine. The first result was Mickey Mantle; in fact, all of the results were related to Mickey Mantle.When he searched for "Mantle" on Alta Vista, he also found a post office and a press and more.

"You get a lot of irrelevant results," he says.

The startup company has backing and expects more.

Pinpoint is carving a niche, combining attributes of directories and full-text search engines.

"We're combining the best of both search worlds," Bowman says.

Last month, Bowman flew out of Raleigh a dozen times promoting the site.

Bowman's buddy, 18-year-old Taylor Brockman, is the company's co-founder and the chief technology officer at Pinpoint. He plans to keep Pinpoint on the cutting edge.