imHalal The Google for Muslims, Achieves Around 800,000 Visits After Less than One Month of its Launch.
imHalal the a new search engine for Muslims that went live on September 1s.t during the Islamic month of Ramadan has achieved popularity in very short time with around 800,000 visits since its launch.
The new search Engine was which developed by ZSMedia Group a Dutch based startup founded by Reza Sardeha a Kuwaiti-Iranian, uses an opt-in filter to search results that are deemed unilsamic,. The search engine aims to prevent you from “accidentally” bumping into “explicit” content.
So for example if you search for “britney spears” you get a warning message in the result:
“Oops! Your search inquiry has a Haram level of 1 out of 3. This means that the results fetched by ImHalal.com could be haram! ”
However there is a message at the end that says, “If you still think the results will be clean click me!”
iHalal usess what it calls a Haram Rating System, which is based in a two layers of filtering: the first filter analyzes the world wide web and only retainers clean results. The second filter the one that triggers the Haram rating system.
Reza explained to ArabCrunch via email how the Haram Rating system works:
- When you get a Haram warning of 1 out of 3 this means that the results fetched by ImHalal.com could potentially contain explicit content but if you think the results will be clean you still can continue your search.
- When you get a Haram warning of 2 out of 3 this means that the results fetched by ImHalal.com probably will contain explicit content but if your really sure your search will return clean results you can continue your search.
- Last but most certainly not least when you get a Haram warning of 3 out of 3 this means that the search results will most certainly contain sexual explicit content and so you can’t continue your search and you are advised to try another search inquiry.”
imHalal pitch its system as designed to facilitate several purposes such as functioning as a warning system, child protection system and to inform Muslims and or Non-Muslims what is supposed to be “Haram” or not according to the Islamic Law.
The search engine counters those who claim that the system is being “a dangerous tool since we are a heavily censored search engine” by saying that they only heavily censor pornographic content and that there is no censorship just content filtering, where the search engine warns you but still you are in charge to determine if you want to see the full results or not.
As for people like the extreme secular Jordanian blogger Ahmad Humeid the cofounder of Toot Corp the company behind iKbis and WatWet, who insults the people behind imHalal on his blog post by calling them “the fanatics / forces of darkness / narrow-minded crazies,” and describes the systems as “it supposedly only returns results in line with some ultra conservative/fanatic interpretation of Islamic teachings.” Reza replies by saying “Obviously Ahmed hasn’t even tried ImHalal.com and unfortunately Ahmed is ignorant and really doesn’t know what ImHalal.com is all about. We advice people like Ahmed to visit our blog at: www.imhalal.com/blog so that they can inform themselves before they conclude certain things.”
Reza told ArabCrunch that he got imHalal idea when he was talking about search engines with a couple of his friends where the conversation inspired him “since the conclusion of our discussion was that once in a while accidentally you could bump into explicit content on search engines like Google even though safe search is on. So then we thought we can create a better search engine tailor made for Muslims.”
Reza has more ambitious project for imHalal as he said that he is planning to roll out more extra services like Islamic Widgets, news feeds and that his startup is in the process of making a ImHalal game.
imHalah is self funded but looking for a capital injection, the startup is run by 4 people and uses Bing and Yahoo to do the actual search as Reza told me ( I will update you here in how they use them.) The top 3 countries for imhalal.com in terms of visits are: Turkey, India and Pakistan
Other websites that specialize in “clean” Islamic content include Gummah which like iHalah in search and NaqaaTube an Arabic site that filter content from Youtube Videos deemed unislamic in accordance with “Ahel El Suna Wa El Jamma.” and away from forcing ” extremism or fanaticism ” as the website says.
Update: Reza told me they use Yahoo! BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) it is Yahoo!’s open search web services platform. Where Developers, start-ups, and large Internet companies can use BOSS to build and launch web-scale search products that utilize the entire Yahoo! Search index. BOSS gives you access to Yahoo!’s investments in crawling and indexing, ranking and relevancy algorithms, and powerful infrastructure.
Unfortunately BOSS might die with Yahoo’s Suicidal Deal with Microsoft in which Bing will power Yahoo’s search .