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The Un-Google - The Search Competition 141

Posted by Zonk
from the turtles-are-gaining dept.
WinEveryGame writes "The Economist is running an article on the state of the competition for Internet Search. While Google clearly dominates, and continues to have positive momentum, its leadership is still vulnerable. The search-engine battle is not over yet." From the article: "In terms of momentum — mass times velocity — Google's lead indeed looks daunting. It has by far the most mass, with an American market share of 43% as of April, which reaches 50% counting AOL, an internet property that uses Google's search technology. This compares with 28% for Yahoo!; 13% for MSN, which belongs to Microsoft; and 6% for Ask, which is owned by IAC/Interactive Corp, a conglomerate of about 60 online media brands. Google also has velocity: its market share grew by 17% in the four quarters to this spring, whereas Yahoo! and MSN both lost share. Only Ask has more velocity — its share grew by 35% — but then again it has little mass."
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The Un-Google - The Search Competition

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  • by deragon (112986) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:54AM (#15548315) Homepage Journal
    The reason I mainly uses Google is Google groups; whenever I have a computer related problem, the Usenet archive is often helpful. I do not think that there is any other archive of Usenet like this out there (available for free). If there are, please share the links.

    And how many slashdotters find Google Groups useful?
  • by JCOTTON (775912) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:59AM (#15548352) Homepage Journal
    Ironically, by posting this on slashdot, I will get a higher rating on google.
  • Not war, market (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 12ahead (586157) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:08AM (#15548420)
    It's not a war, it's a market. Markets change. That's a good thing. Right now most people are happy with google. If something better comes along, I am sure nobody would stop embracing it just because they love Google so much. For shareholders and Google's owners it's probably different, as they want to keep on top and gain maximum market share to increase profits (or whatever). But as a consumer I couldn't care less if the best search engine is called google yahoo or msn. If a search engine searches well, I'll use it. If it doesn't - well, game over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:13AM (#15548455)
    This is were Google truely dominates, in cult of personality.

    It seems more and more when I try to find something on google all I get are a bunch of link farms. This morning I was trying to find a bike jersey for a friend of mine and on the first page of results, it took getting to the second page to find any actual results. I did much better using Yahoo and found what I was looking for on the first page of results.

    I speak of the same experience in another thread. Simple fact is, Google appears to be doing nothing to make searching truely better. I give them some benefit of the doubt by saying "appears" since they may have "the next great thing" in the wings and we just haven't seen it yet. But lets face it, searching today is a time wasting experience. What's worse is that several years ago, it was time wasting due to the large number of seemingly random links. Well, those links aren't so random anymore, AAMOF, those links are geared to simply make Google money. I've said it before and I'll say it again, anyone who buys into their "do no evil" marketing fluff can give me a ring, because I have a nice bridge to sell them. How are they any different that M$ in this regard? They have tons of money, some of the brightest minds in the valley, and yet a simply search for a product gives me pages of utter crap. Hell, if a manufacturer makes the mistake of naming their company after their flagship product, you won't even be able to find their main website in a search until the third page!?! But Google still collects their bucks. How is this helping? How is this not evil?

    Anyway, off my soap box. Here's to hoping someone can come along and actually do some good here (and yes, it may even be Google themselves).
  • by kiwimate (458274) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:21AM (#15548510) Journal
    Very good post, my congratulations.

    Yep. These are some of the same problems that present themselves in the document management / knowledge management / ECM market. What I want is a taxonomy. That way I can drill down when I search for horn and see the results categorized appropriately.

    But how do you present a taxonomy? It's not easy, and you really need to know the context. Example: what is a generator? Enter that word into Google and the first page is entirely links for products to generate ASCII art or banners for your church. Interestingly, the entire list of links consists of electrical generators.

    What I'm thinking about, however, has many different contexts in the electrical industry. If I'm an engineer, then a generator is something that produces electricty. If I'm in customer service, however, a generator is a company that generates power and connects to the interconnection grid.

    This also presents a problem when discussing searching on raw text or paragraphs. Again, you need to understand the context of the industry that you're working inside. You need a combination of good Natural Language Processing (NLP) and something like an expert system for your particular industry. This could be particularly important in any industry with a highly technical verbiage, such as IT, legal, medical, musical...well, you get the point.
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:26AM (#15548549) Homepage Journal
    Google Groups is great, and gives the lie to the idea that Usenet is dead.

    Having said that, dejanews had a much better interface. (Simple is good: you'd expect Google to know that).
  • by teknomage1 (854522) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:32AM (#15548593) Homepage
    Simple for Ask, experts are those that best further the marketing goals of their backers.
  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:35AM (#15548612) Homepage
    and that's a good thing.

    The barrier to entry in search is moderately high (you have to be able to afford the hardware to do your indexing) but there will always be people willing to invest in search. It's easily monetized (love that word, eh?), there's no cost for users to switch to new competitive product, and there's no magic bullet that gives you both accurate results and the ability to weed out aggregators and shady SEOs. As long as developers can come up with new search algorithms that give better results, there's the chance that the "next Google" could be launched.

    I like and use Google, but that's because the results are usually valuable to me and the ads are minimally intrusive. Currently, the one issue I have is Google's inability to prevent aggregators from showing up in search results. I've never found anything useful through aggregator pages, and I'd like Google to filter them out.

    Anyway, the ability of new companies to explore search is something that's good for SE users. New search startups can be launched and attempt to improve search. Google is forced to innovate. Where's the downside?

  • by McWilde (643703) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:00AM (#15548827) Homepage

    "Google is 8th when you google Search Engines. They are a has been...."

    It should be perfectly clear from your own post: noone uses the term "search engine" anymore, it's called a Google these days. Just like Xerox and Kleenex. I just googled "Google" and Google still dominates the first ten pages of results. Stanford is on page 4, Slashdot on page 8. I didn't feel the need to page on until I found Yahoo or MSN in there.

  • by iamcf13 (736250) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:13PM (#15550231) Homepage Journal
    The parent AC is correct.

    Big business turned the Internet (the WWW part principaly) into little more than 'online TV'. Because of all the $$$ at stake, we have probably the best search engine around, Google, drowning in ad driven/cash driven search engine spam ('spamdexing').

    If you are searching for something in Google, add site:.edu to your search. By doing that. that should lead you to .edu sites who are there principally to educate rather than sell you something. If you have to do general search, add
    -shipping -visa -mc -amex and the like to your search terms to block the 'ad pages'

    Good Luck!

    P.S. The best search engine would just index the single homepage page served up by the webserver at all 4,294,967,296 possible IPv4 addresses (minus the reserved/private/unused ones). The rationale is that if you are paying for webspace and a unique IP address, chances are good you have worthwhile content there. This would eliminate 'spamdexing' in all its forms in one bold stroke. The drawback is that 'online communities' would only be listed by the main IP webserver address and not by the URL which is why Google is in the 'mess' they are in.

    If you are doing worthwhile research and want to avoid as much e-commerce as possible in the process, here again are some helpful tips....

    add site:.edu in Google searches (mentioned earlier - restrict search to non-profit educational sites)

    add -shipping -visa -mc -amex and the like to Google searches (mentioned earlier - helps eliminate product 'ad pages' and leave behind product review pages

    search well-known 'info sites' like http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/ [psu.edu] or http://www.wikipedia.org/ [wikipedia.org] If you can't find the info you want at those two places for free, the content you seek is either not on the Web or (more likely) you have to pay for it to get access. We all know how Net-savvy people hate to pay for anything they find on the Web....

    As a last resort, search Google's Usenet interface at http://groups.google.com/ [google.com] Helpful info can be found there but be prepared to really dig for it! =/

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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