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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 eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:43AM (#15548238) Journal
    The search-engine battle is not over yet.
    Of course it isn't.

    There are some customers (government/military included) that are aware of the two concepts of precision and recall [wikipedia.org]. Before you groan and skip this post because you recall those words from all classifying algorithms, you should take note that there are two stages we have yet to meet in this respect.

    One is simply improving precision without sacrificing recall. When I search for 'horn' in Google, how many of those searches are relevant? I was thinking about a French horn (instrument) and the first link brings me to a society about them. The next three links, however, do not. You might say, "Well, gee, you should have put 'French' in your search" but is this really necessary? So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user or perhaps the results could be displayed intuitively in domains of knowledge (a la Clusty [clusty.com]). So that I can select a node that applies to the correct searching term and see all results returned below that. Have you ever wished to view your search results in a format other than a linear display of ranked results? The documents are related in more than one dimension, you know. As computing power increases, I suspect there will be room to display them in two dimensions (heat/area mapping, nodes & vertices on a plane) and three dimensions (spatial 3D engines with nodes & vertices in space).

    The second stage is giving the user the power to adjust precision versus recall. Even a graphical interface that shows the F-measure [wikipedia.org] relationship between precision and recall would be helpful to consider in the search engine wars. Say you give the user some control through a slider AJAX interface of a threshold ß. But the threshold isn't simply the "Google score cut off" or even a term frequency cutoff. Instead, it's applied to be a "relevance" threshold. You would score relevance by fingerprinting frequency, specificity, clustering and other useful tools by using a domain ontology or taxonomy.

    Another big thing that is missing is identifying what kind of data you are searching. Social data? Scientific data? Historical data? etc. Perhaps I'm only interested in who's who to Stephen Hawking. I'd search for him and flip through nodes of separation from him to other people.

    The current search sites also only tend to favor key-word regular expressions. What about searching with raw text or entire paragraphs? If you want to see an interesting demo of this, visit Collexis' Demo Site [collexis.net] which alludes to a whole new kind of searching.

    The key to entering the market as a competitor with Google is to pick up Google's slack and to try to pose yourself as a complimentary service to Google. Google is terrible at closed domain searches but amazingly efficient at open domain searches. You don't want to compete with them so fill a different part of the market. Google benefits from simple design, so go to an advanced flashy complex design. Most people aren't looking for that but the people that are have nowhere to go.

    The Economist is alluding to potential leadership problems inside Google. Who cares? That's not going to be Google's downfall. Google's downfall will be an new intuitive way to search and the only thing that will prevent their downfall is if they buyout the company or bone up on the technology.

    The search-engine battle hasn't even hit its stride.
    • I was thinking about a French horn (instrument) and the first link brings me to a society about them. The next three links, however, do not. You might say, "Well, gee, you should have put 'French' in your search" but is this really necessary?

      Unless there is only one meaning for a word or the computer can read your mind you're going to have to be more specific. I don't see how any kind of technological advance can ever enable a computer to know which kind of horn you want without being told.

    • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:07AM (#15548414) Homepage
      Googling "Search Engine" returns 2,190,000,000 results.
      The top 5 results?
      1.Dogpile Web Search Home Page
      2.Search Engine Watch: Tips About Internet Search Engines & Search ...
      3.Lycos
      4.MetaCrawler Web Search Home Page - MetaCrawler
      5.Mamma Metasearch search engines on the Internet.
      Google is 8th!!!!
      Granted DogPile and Mamma include Google results, but it appears Google is no longer relevant. In today's world, you are judged by your Google ranking. Google is 8th when you google Search Engines. They are a has been....
      • "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 Momoru (837801) on Friday June 16, 2006 @11:05AM (#15548863) Homepage Journal
        Despite the joke, it goes to show how Google isn't that great at returning the "Best" result anymore. It needs to change its algorhythm now that all the SEO's know how to game the system.

        I still prefer Clusty.com 's way of doing search...much easier to find the most relevant thing when you type in a term used for multiple things like "Paris" Does one want the porn star or city? or "Cold Fusion".. the technology, or the programming language? Google doesn't know, and for really common terms it fails. Clusty can tell the difference, Google can't.

        Even better is Yahoo's beta search that allows you to filter results of sites that are more sales oriented or research oriented. If I want to find out about the new Trek Mountain Bike, Google hits me with tons of sales sites, when really I want reviews, or vice versa. If someone could combine all those, and then maybe a Digg like system of users rating relevance, they might have something.
        • One engine that has a really interesting way of dealing with this is ahref=http://www.kartoo.com/rel=url2html-10505 [slashdot.org]http ://www.kartoo.com/> which is a meta search engine. Its written in flash, but uses an interesting concept of creating a "map" of different pages.
          I just did a search on "Paris" and it brings up a list of pages- you can mouse over the pages to get a preview of the site. It also gives you a list of categories such as "City of Paris" "Accomodations" and "Entertainment". These categories
      • If you put in just "search" 16,210,000,000 results
        1. Google
        2. MSN
        3. Lycos
        4. Exite
        5. Search Engine Watch
      • This is serving the customer. Clearly, someone who is at Google, and is looking for another search engine, is not well-served by a link to Google.
    • So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user (...)

      Google supposedly does that, or will in the near future, assuming that you are logged in. From what I understand, most of the /. crowd considers that to be a fairly big integrity issue and don't search while logged in. (Or maybe they are just a vocal minority?)

    • So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user

      Am I the only one who sees privacy issues here? One concept of the next gen search engine that the article addresses is just this: one that tracks my every click, learns about me, and tailors searches in terms of that knowledge. I wonder just how clear a picture this data could paint of a person? How much of myself do I want represented in someone elses database, without a clear sense of how they'll use it or

    • 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 ba
    • > So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that
      > tailor themselves to the user

      I for one, wouldn't want a search engine that customizes its output to that extent for me (not the way it looks, or the ordering, but the content itself). I'd like to see results for all types of horns even though I've only been interested in air horns in my previous searches. That'd be like only watching a particular news channel that is known to be slanted one way, you'd end up thinking to world is ju
    • search engines that tailor themselves to the user

      this could be the biggest pitfall

      1. without elaborating much, privacy .
      2. one might search for different domains at different times.
      3. information cutoff. If i ever weighed something light, i'd remain forever in darkness.

      Your suggestions of categorizing results according to search term meaning is already being taken, i saw few with clear distinction classified in google, but needs improvement.

    • "Well, gee, you should have put 'French' in your search" but is this really necessary? So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user or perhaps the results could be displayed intuitively in domains of knowledge (a la Clusty).

      Even if a search engine were sophisticated enough to incorporate taxonomies and domains of knowledge, how would it know that you meant a French Horn vs. say, an English Horn. There are many types of horns even in the music world.

      Now,


    • So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user or perhaps the results could be displayed intuitively in domains of knowledge (a la Clusty [clusty.com]).

      Perhaps it sounds paradoxical, but typically I am searching for things OUTSIDE my areas of expertise so how much of this sort of learning is really practical?
    • You might say, "Well, gee, you should have put 'French' in your search" but is this really necessary? So there is some money to be made in "learning" search engines that tailor themselves to the user or perhaps the results could be displayed intuitively in domains of knowledge (a la Clusty [clusty.com]).

      I suspect that whatever search engine innovations come along, the use of a little smarts and specificity on the user's part will always pay off.

      If a search engine returns results in clusters and hierarchies,
    • by b7j0c (884562)
      interesting notes, but until most people can't find what they are looking for, there is no ROI in doing massive relevance engine upgrades, in fact such upgrades may be ROI negative if it breaks expected behavior. this is why i don't expect search to move much in the next five years. there will be tweaks and improvements, but i don't sense a sea-change until there is a large pile of unclaimed money available.
    • You forgot an element needed to people to actually want to use it, usability. People want a simple search engine, which is (in part) why Google reached ascendancy in the search engine market. With the goliath of the pre-google days (Yahoo) you had to actually work to find what your looking for, scroll down and find the right category, etc... People don't want to select nodes, or spend any amount of time on the results page, they just want to find and move on with the least amount of work or time. And on
  • It should really be m*v^2. (m*v is a vector equation, m*v^2 is a scalar)
    • Hmm, computing "energy" is interesting, even though it could lead to surprising results (such as highly rating a search engine undergoing catastrophic decline). It also ends up ranking things quite differently:
      Google
      0.50*0.17*0.17 = 0.01445
      Ask
      0.06*0.35*0.35 = 0.00735
      Yahoo!
      0.28*0.16*0.16 = 0.007168 (less than Ask!)

      Note that I had to pull the figures for the growth rate of Yahoo! out of my butt here, but since we know from the article that they're growing slower than Google, selecting one percentage point l

      • Gp wasn't suggesting computing energy, just pointing out that a bare mv results in a vector, not a scalar that can be easily compared. What we want is m|v|, which can be computed as m * sqrt(v^2). And anway, for "energy" computation purposes mv^2 will get you double the "true" figure (assuming you were interpreting it as kinetic energy), since K.E. = 0.5 * m * v^2.
    • Except we do want to compare (one-dimensional) vectors. Unless you don't care whether a company is gaining or losing marketshare?
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich.aol@com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:49AM (#15548276) Journal
    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.

    This is just one example, but it happens constantly...
    • by rainman_bc (735332) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:06AM (#15548403)
      It seems more and more when I try to find something on google all I get are a bunch of link farms.

      Totally agree. It isn't that Google is great; it is IMO quite far from it.

      Personally I only stick to Google because of their usenet search. I honestly think their web search is crap thanks to google spammers, or those self titled Search Engine Optimizers.

      I actually thing Yahoo's search engine is somewhat superior... I kinda like search.yahoo.com [yahoo.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:13AM (#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).
      • 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
        -
    • I agree to some extent. I was searching for this site that hosted the solutions manual to my calc textbook. I entered a few unique words I had seen on the page before, and for some reason, google didn't get it at all, while it was the first result for yahoo.
    • I currently work for Google. Everyone here uses Google for their searching; it's just so obvious a choice that no one feels obligated to pretend anything else is better.

      Before this, I worked for Yahoo. Everyone there used Google for their searching; it was just so obvious a choice that no one felt obligated to pretend that anything else was better.

  • by deragon (112986) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:54AM (#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?
    • 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).
    • And how many slashdotters find Google Groups useful?

      Being a developer, I use it quite often at work to find info about software issues and help against assorted quirks that can be more of a jungle to find on the world wild web. :-) There's lots and lots of software development stuff there too.
    • When I have programming problems or questions, now I actually turn to Google Groups before a standard web search. The results seem to be much more on target since each result is generally a specific issue someone is having. Once you get an on-target post, you just have to wade through all the flame wars, format nazis, and ploinkers...

      The groups that actually seem to be hosted by Google are a little easier to read, but less populated.

  • google cant find me (Score:2, Informative)

    by JCOTTON (775912)
    Actually, I have as small personal page for people who are looking for me to find me. It is here. [geocities.com] I am probably the only person in the world with a page that lists my name and my elementary school name. If you do a search on these terms "JOSEPH COTTON SEABREEZE" in google, you will not find my page. If you do a search in yahoo, then there it is at the top. So Google is not king, by any marker other than market share.
  • Google sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:56AM (#15548333)
    Well, actually, almost all current search engines suck. There is waaaaaay too much noise in the results they return. Let's say I'm doing a search for "product X", search for it in Google and what do you get? Several links to ebay (which may or may not be current), tons of links to various "rate it" sites such as epinions/nextag/msn/etc, and maybe a few smatterings of other sites mixed in. Typically the manufacturers own site won't even appear in the first couple of dozen results!

    So basically, I agree with the general position of the article, that there is still a TON (actually several tons) of work to be done and room for someone else to move in with a truely superiour solution. While it's great that Google is tinkering with lots of other technologies, I wish they'd actually make some real advances in their core business (and actually, I'm slowly starting to come to grips with the fact that their core competency may not be searching, but really it's in creating low latency widely distributed computing infrastructures). For all the years and the massive sums of money, my search experience is not significantly better than it was 5 years ago.
    • aaah, the fine art of googling.

      There are ways and means to improve the google results. First of all, with google toolbar and personalized google, google actually adapts the search results to your search patterns. So if it sees that you rarely look at the epionons, you will not get them as top results.

      Next, use "site:". In many cases, you get much better results if you narrow your search to ".net" or ".org", leaving out the ".com". Refine your search, start with a large number of keywords and only when it do
  • MS Uses Google :) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gasmonso (929871) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:56AM (#15548341) Homepage

    I was on the phone with some engineers at MS the other day and even they admitted that they use Google. It's just better... for now.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:58AM (#15548348) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know how they calculate these market share values? AFAIK they don't all publish traffic statistics.
  • Resting on Laurels (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) *

    So Ask--which used to be called Ask Jeeves but dropped Jeeves, a knowing butler, from its logo in February--is taking a different tack. It has come up with ExpertRank, an algorithm that also ranks web pages by incoming links, but is different from Google's PageRank in that it first groups, or "clusters", pages and links by theme. So instead of using a web page's overall popularity to calculate its ranking, it finds the pages that are most popular among experts on a particular subject, a method that often r

    • Simple for Ask, experts are those that best further the marketing goals of their backers.
    • by billstr78 (535271)
      There are no actually subject specific "experts" at Ask. They use computer algorithms which are generic enough to work with any subject group, not just ones that a single person might know a bit about. The term "Expert" is figurative and not literal.
  • by Betabug (58015) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:04AM (#15548388) Homepage
    Which world do these numbers come out of? This month on my private site so far I got 1400 incoming links vom Google and 30 from MSN (the next runner up), 27 from Yahoo. Maybe it's just that Google loves my site for some strange reason, but I can't imagine my own little sample of web hits is statistically so "off" from their numbers. Other sites I admin for have similar numbers.

    The numbers of pagehits by spiders from those search companies are much more on an equal basis. Sometimes one of them is on top, sometimes the other, but they all spider like crazy.

    Much more interesting are little search engines like gigabot, which never ever gave me one incoming link but still spider like it's going out of style. Somehow makes me think they must live either off warm air or spam. What reason to be do they have?
    • This month on my private site so far I got 1400 incoming links vom Google and 30 from MSN (the next runner up), 27 from Yahoo

      I think your numbers are less representative than most, but even so, I find Google "only" having 50% to be strange. On our site and for June only: Google 75.5%, MSN 11.8%, Yahoo 4%, Kvasir 3.1%, Google (Images) 2%, Altavista 2%, everyone else 0.2% or less.

      Since we are based in northern Europe, Kvasir (a Norweigan search engine) is obviously having a much higher share than for most

    • I think this could be explained by the content of your site.

      If your site focuses on technology related commentary, java tips, and hardware reviews, I would expect Google to have more links.

      If your site contains an aundance of kitten pictures and Christian Fellowship information, I would expect things to be more evenly distributed.

      People with no idea what is going on will just use whatever search engine pops up when they get their PC from dell and start it up. People on slashdot (you) probably have pa

  • by Nutmegan (971365)
    I don't know how they measured the dominance of these search engines, but I know how its supposed to be done: by the number of hits it gets on Google. In that respect, Google: 9,630,000,000 Yahoo: 5,240,000,000 MSN: 4,220,000,000 Ask: 2,140,000,000 Clearly, though, the most dominant search is the word "search" itself. It gets 16,670,000,000 hits.
  • Not over yet? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by russ1337 (938915)
    "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"

    This isn't over, simply due to lack of certainty in net neutrality. If media companies get leverage to control bandwidth to the big search companies (Google), it goes without saying that that these figures will change significantly. For Google, it could be death by a thousand cuts...
    • Well google is safe in the UK, Japan and South Korea, and probably a load more places that have laws for real net neutrality, so maybe they will move.
  • Not war, market (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 12ahead (586157)
    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
  • Momentum? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Intron (870560) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:10AM (#15548437)
    The article totally fails to take Lorentz-FitzGerald Contraction into account.
  • Of course the search engine wars will never be over. Unlike desktop operating systems where Microsoft has a monopoly that is difficult to dislodge due to the large installed base, training, etc., it is very easy to change search engines and this will keep competition healthy.

    Search can always be better (as other people have pointed out). This is a good thing. Competition is good and we benefit.

    (This is also why Microsoft is so threatened by the Internet... once you move everything to the Internet, t

    • We can only hope competition remains in search engines. The TV controlled public opinion for the last generation. Media giants worked to own and control all the TV outlets and build vast networks to send out the desired message. The same happened to the newspaper industry and the radio industry. Public opinion for the next generation will be heavily influenced by the internet and due to the nature of the internet the only way to control the information is through the search engines or ending net neutrality.
      • I agree that this is a real threat to the Internet.

        Noam Chomsky has written a lot about this subject and his books ("Media Control" and "Necessary Illusions" among others) lay out the case clearly.

        Some choice quotes:

        The media are a corporate monopoly. They have the same point of view. The two parties are two factions of the business party. Most of the population doesn't even bother voting because it looks meaningless. They're marginalized and properly distracted. At least that's the goal.

        People have to

        • Yeah, I am totally amazed sometimes at the level of bullshit that comes from the mainstream media -- and even more amazed when the government claims the media has a leftist bias or are anti-government. Steven Colbert's speech at the press gallery's dinner was a very accurate criticism and a demonstration of the kind of guts that media should have. Descent, even against the right choice, is a requirement of a healthy democracy. Bush's "decider" comments was succinct description of what the media does now. Th
    • it is very easy to change search engines


      This is only because right now, I can access whatever web site I want to at full speed. If the telcos get their way, I'm pretty sure all the search engines that failed to pay their protection money will start grinding to a halt.

    • Its easy to change search engines today. It was easier yesterday and it will be harder next week, month, year etc. Seach used to be a website you visited and that was all. Now there is all sorts of browser integration, webservice calls from applications, and plenty of other attemps to create more secure lasting relationships with a particular search service then your bookmarks list. Google and others are doing exactly what MS did, embrace and extend.

      Think about it this way. Once upon a time if you did
  • by belg4mit (152620)
    Since when is delta M equal to v in kinematics?
  • by oni (41625) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:21AM (#15548509) Homepage
    Obwan: that search engine is our last hope
    Yoda: no, there is another

    (later)

    Yoda: google... page rank is strong with you... pass on what you have indexed... there... is... another... search engi(ugh)
  • Shouldn't it have to be:
    m = mass -> $$$
    v = velocity -> users
    a = acceleration -> growth

    This way you can see how much energy a company has, and thus it's importance (m*v*v/2), growth can end *very* fast.
    The energy a company gains is m*a*v, that shows that google is the best growing company...

    etc.
    • Of course classically F=ma and W=E=int(F dot ds). If the article simply used acceleration instead of velocity (I can't believe they associated something that doesn't change with growth. *sigh*.) then instead of momentum they'd have force. You could then of course measure "energy" by quantizing their growth in a specific direction(s).

      If you're going to make an analogy of something with classical physics you could at LEAST get the "units"/equations right.
  • The Google Killer will not arise from the current stable of search engine competitors. Like Google's arise from seemingly nowhere in the late 90's amidst then formidable competitors like NorthernLights, Altavista, Goto, Hotbot, Yahoo!, etc., to its position of dominance today, the "next big thing" in search will arise either from a currently unknown startup or from academic research.
  • ... you can't even install it.

    I know I'm a little off-topic, but (from my own slashgeo website [slashgeo.org]):
    The Ogle Earth blog indicates that if you use Google Earth at work (the free version), you're in illegality [ogleearth.com]. From the site: "1. USE OF SOFTWARE The Software is made available to you for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Software or the geographical information made available for display using the Software, or any prints or screen outputs generated with the Software in any commercial or b
  • Google isn't just a search engine anymore, they have moved into so many other areas it's going to be almost impossible for any one search engine which is soley a search engine to compete in any way, and if they branch into the same areas then the argument 'Google did that first' will come out. If anyone wants to be any threat to google at this point, they will have to do something completly original, and get a large market because of it.
    • "...the argument 'Google did that first' will come out. If anyone wants to be any threat to google at this point, they will have to do something completly original, and get a large market because of it."

      Not true... Google wasn't the first to do maps, video, weather, etc. Google just made a better product. All it takes is someone else with an even better product to make some room in the market.
  • the climbing ask.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by op12 (830015) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:32AM (#15548596) Homepage
    About a month back I did a comparison of some searches, based on ask's claims of understanding concepts. They were able to outperform Google in this functionality: http://www.nirajsanghvi.com/stories.php?sid=318&ti d=55 [nirajsanghvi.com]
  • Google is still mostly a general search engine at a time when verticals are rising fast..

    Look at technorati [technorati.com] for example and look at the effect (or lack of) on technorati traffic when google launched their own blogsearch.. nothing at all.. it failed to make an impression despite technorati having growing pains of its own that probably annoy many users and send them elsewhere. Google tries to apply the same methods used on their main search system to the blog search and its not really working partly because

  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:35AM (#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?

    • 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?

      You don't see it because you don't hate free markets. Some people do.

      Show me a better search engine than Google and I'll use it. That's what got me off of altavista.digital.com over to google.stanford.edu. I think some Slashdotter mentioned it.
  • by Unxmaal (231) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:46AM (#15548700) Homepage
    At some point within the last few months, Google removed the "Remove this site from search results" button. I made heavy use of it, perma-banning resultspammer sites like ExpertSexchange.com and its ilk.

    Sadly, this button is now gone from Personalized Search, and the resultspammer sites are steadily reducing Google's usefulness to me. Where I could once search for specific tech terms and get a good batch of reference resources, now I'm getting junk portal pages for the top five results.

    Sure, I could report [google.com] a link as spam, but that's a lot more time-consuming than the button, and it doesn't appear to have any immediate results for my searches.

    This makes me sad. I've loved Google since I first met her, but I can't be with her if she's going to continue mainlining spam.
    • Indeed the quality of results has dropped dramatically. I used to use google because it would supply with with information about what i searched for. now it just trys to sell me what i search for. could they not seperate google and froogle properly?
  • Why Google? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by urdine (775754)
    The reason everyone still uses Google isn't because they have the best ranking of results anymore, which is usually encrusted with spam sites designed to beat Google, but because they have the most COMPLETE results. When you search for something rare, Google most likely will return results no other basic engine has. So people have gotten accustomed to checking Google first out of habit more than anything else.

    To me, I think the future of search isn't necessarily a better Google, but something different
  • While it's true that their search algorithm is important, the other very important thing which contributed to the success of Google is that they have always offered honest results. They do have sponsored links but they are clearly marked as such. You know that the main search results are not influenced by advertizer money. Other search engines before Google typically did not make it clear when a site had paid for higher rankings.

    Google's motto of "Do no evil" is really just a modernized version of "Hones
  • I think it will be hard (or at least take a loooooong time) to over throw Google as a search engine for the masses even if a better engine comes along. There is really something to be said for people recognizing the phrose "Google it". This is similar to the reason that msn.com is one of the top 10 (or 20?) visited sites, simply because it's the default homepage in Windows IE. There is a huge number of people who don't care enough about a "better product" and will just stick with what is standard. The p
  • Thought this was going to be a story about lastgoogle.com [lastgoogle.com].

    Article totally ignores emerging fields of LRS (Last Result Search) and SEdO (Search Engine de-Optimization).

    But then what do you expect of The Economist? Typical center-right-wing media bias.
  • What has made Google from a nifty tool to a worldwide phenomenon is the breadth of their searches--they are no longer about searching the web only. You can search also Usenet, maps, scholarly research, online vendors, books, email, and even your own files and images on your PC. You can also use Google to search the web for images, videos, stocks, catalogs, blogs, and news articles. Simply beating Google in web search won't dethrone them, you'd need to beat them everywhere (or at least make their other se
  • As we all know, searching is becoming a main focus not only on the Web, but also within businesses in general. It seems that there are several large companies (namely Google, Yahoo, etc, etc) that are going head to head to take over the market. However, as this article notes these powers are also becoming distracted not only with the fight amongst themselves to become the number one search engine in the world, but also with venturing into other areas of interest (i.e. Google going after the Microsoft soft
  • It's interesting that they count AOL as part of Google, but not Yahoo. In point of fact, Yahoo also uses the Google search engine. So Google actually has 78% of the U.S. market, minus the (unknown, but probably very small) percentage of Yahoo users that actually rely on Yahoo's poorly maintained "web directory".

    The fact is that Yahoo has never had a viable search product. They started out as a shared bookmark file, then became a directory web site. It was never the best way to search the web — the w

  • I just think it's cool that there are marketing geeks who know that mass x velocity = momentum.

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