Corvida wrote an interesting post on a new ethnically targeted search engine called Rushmore Drive. She talks about it not being right to differentiate search based on skin colour. When put in that context it is hard to disagree with her thoughts. I commented there on her post but I wanted to expand on it here further.
Theoretically the idea is sound though if looked at in a different context – different cultures like (or search for) different things. That’s why they have different cultures, how bland it would be if we all wanted the same things! It’s natural that someone with a certain culture would use a search engine that is tailored to them – not because of their skin colour but because it finds them the results they want. Of course, it is a bit chicken and egg.. the service was designed for a certain community which you might be able to differentiate by skin colour, and yet it meets that community’s requirements. It may not be ethically a good thing differentiating software on skin colour but African-Americans (in this case) would be happier I bet to use a search engine which finds them what they want rather than have to search through Google.
That was the reason I left Altavista for Google in the first place.
I think over time though this specific search engine is irrelevent – Google (and the other major search players out there) will highly likely introduce profiles that tailor it’s results based on you (equally I would hope you could switch this off if you did not want Google to know that much about you).