Today, we are proud to share our long-term vision and the strategic priorities to be pursued in the year ahead.
But, as a first step, let me give you an overview of what we have achieved in 2019. Year One was an absolutely exciting and crazy time for us; we have been keeping busy with determining our market position. Should we limit ourselves only to large accounts, e-commerce, SaaS for start-ups and SMBs? How do we position ourselves in relation to Elasticsearch and Algolia?
In 2019 we created from scratch an instant, relevant, and typo-tolerant search engine in Rust, which source code is open source.
We've been fortunate to work with Louis Vuitton, for whom we integrated our engine into one of its iOS application. We're not shy to say this application is now in production for several months and is used daily by more than 4,000 employees.
Our team also got bigger at the end of the year! Clementine and Charlotte joined us as developers and took care of the documentation and SDK parts. Finally, we decided in December 2019 to get more involved in the open source community.
The open source way of life
We have spent a year getting to know the Search Engine Market better and identifying potential opportunities. We analyzed the companies making up the market we were targeting. What were their needs? What were our competitor's strengths and weaknesses?
To our surprise, 90% of mobile applications today have a completely inefficient search bar. And this is also true for apps from giants like Apple. Then, you may ask yourself why don't those apps use powerful search engines? Well, it is simply because of a lack of both powerful and affordable solutions. Algolia does indeed exist, but it is proprietary and requires a significant investment of money.
Many companies in the world use technologies such as SQL databases, most of the time, either MySQL or PostgreSQL, which are two of the most commonly used RDBMS. Backend developers are very familiar with them. What makes them so popular? They are both free and open source softwares, meaning that any developer can install and use them for free. And it changes everything.
Our main focus is to go open source. We want to become the reference solution in the end-user search domain. Choosing us to improve the search experience within any application or website should be the most obvious choice for developers.
Open source is not a new business concept. In the past few years, existing companies proved that the open source business model can be a profitable one. There are many successful models to consider including Elasticsearch, but also MongoDB, Redis, and Sentry. Open source does not equate to making no profit and does not prevent you from having paying customers.
Companies need hosted solutions
The biggest concern with open source alternatives is that whereas they are easy to install and maintain, they are much harder to scale. You may potentially need to change servers, increase CPU, RAM, or add new machines to the cluster. It imposes too many constraints. That's why so many companies prefer using SaaS solutions that will carry out all these complex requirements for them. What is important is to keep in mind that the people responsible for the management of servers are scarce resources.
We, therefore, plan to release a cloud version of our search engine by the end of 2020 and ensure a simple transition from our current self-hosted version to a cloud version. We want the transition to be as smooth as possible. Imagine a "Migrate to Cloud" button that would make your application available all over the world with no latency.
Besides, our cloud solution aims to be much more complete. We are not just talking about automated server management, scalability, snapshotting, or geo-replication. We'll also offer search analytics, more comprehensive dashboards and recommendation systems. The next release will already introduce more tools and enhance the search relevancy.
Big business needs are specific
Keeping data secure is a prevalent issue for large businesses in today's market. For reasons of confidentiality, such organizations can't afford to let SaaS services handle their data, or store it on servers overseas. The same goes for public and government services. Our solution is infrastructure agnostic; therefore, it can be easily installed in private cloud.
An "enterprise" plan also has to provide the basic functionalities required by large companies:
- 99.99 SLA
- Single-tenant options
All those features will be included soon enough.
The roadmap overview
This year we'll be focusing on community and accessibility.
- SDKs in all language (JS, Go, Python, Ruby, PHP, etc.)
- Database collectors (SQL, Mongo, Firebase)
- Widgets for web and mobile. (VueJS, React, Android, iOS)
- Available in popular marketplaces (Wordpress, Gatsby, Magento, Prestashop, etc.)
Documentation and telling examples will be part of all these integrations and SDKs. Demonstration videos will give you an insight on how to use our search engine in different use cases.
The next features you should expect to see in 2020:
- High availability
- Facetting, categories
- A dashboard
- Search by geolocation
- Search by date proximity
- A GRPC interface
Last but not least, we are thrilled to announce you that a brand new website will also be launched at the beginning of the year.
Do not hesitate to leave us a message and give us your impressions. Let's have a chat, or let's meet! If you like what we do, feel free to share our project and star the MeiliSearch project repository.