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Keynote: Search Engine Land: What’s Happening Out There?: IL2008

October 21, 2008
tags:

Keynote: Search Engine Land: What’s Happening Out There?
by Danny Sullivan
Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, former journalist for LA Times

Themes:
There ain’t no Google Killer: Google is going to remain dominant search engine for at least 5 years. Very difficult for anyone to challenge them.

Cuil.com said would have largest index of the web earlier this year in order to get media coverage. But bigger isn’t always better in search engine land. Internet lifetime= 5 years. But it came out and it was horrible. Not the challenger that would knock Google off its perch. Relevancy was horrible especially compared to Google. You didn’t get stuff you expected–could tell there was no relevancy to search results.

Other Google Killers?
Powerset: proved natural language isn’t a natural killer, proved not to be a great search engine, Microsoft acquired it for not much money. Interesting because reading pages and understanding the ideas, which is cool–more like how humans read a page (get aboutness of the page) but not great for searching

Microsoft: announced search engine in 1998, gone nowhere

Pax Googlecana
the benevolent dictatorship
60-70% of the share of searches in the US
80-90% of website owners get traffic from Google
Some countries Google has 90% share, but not in China, Russia, Japan

Google Killerettes
Not quite death by 1,000 cuts and more like let 1,000 flowers bloom
Other search engines, niche and vertical search engines might be more attention
Google doesn’t dominate in all areas

Example: Twitter
Microblogging, hyper real-time tool to see the buzz
http://search.twitter.com
can get news before major news networks (China earthquake, etc.)
Google doesn’t do this

Urbanspoon
iPhone application–knows where you are and finds you a random restaurant or can input limiters (like type of food, price, etc.)
Can use it online too: http://www.urbanspoon.com
Also, Chowhound http://www.chowhound.com
Fun tools, very customer-centric, for mobile devices

Eventful (iPhone event and also on web)
http://eventful.com
What’s going on, from music to events
Upcoming another tool that does the same kind of thing
Google doesn’t have event searching

Yelp
local reviews of all types
http://yelp.com
Note: I love this site, great reviews and definitely get your library in there!
Lots of people are using Yelp
Google is growing its map community that can also host reviews

Trulia/Zillow
both offer homes for sale, local real estate values, etc.
Great for everyone finding real estate information
Google doesn’t have this service, maybe acquire one of these?

Kayak, multisite search
http://kayak.com
Farecast is similar, Microsoft acquired it
Google doesn’t have this feature

Craiglist
http://craiglist.org
buy, sell related to local areas
Lots of poeple use this
Google Base is attempt to challenge Craiglist
And Craiglist is doing well even though looks so Web 1.0

Jobs: Indeed.com
People: Pipl.com, Spock.com
News: Digg.com
Video: Blinkx.com, VideoSurf.com (note: I love VideoSurf, I got in on beta and it is fabulous, so interesting and great interface)
Gas Prices: GasBuddy.com

Killerette Challenges
Hard to remember all the ones out there: hard to remember to go back to the applications/service instead of Google, hard to change habits

Bigger Challengers: Yahoo!
Innovation, mobile
BOSS: build your own search service
Search Monkey: search results, way for publishers to blend information of their own into their listings (enhanced listings)
Biggest problem: Yahoo! continues to face uncertainty, investors don’t have faith in Yahoo! and Uncertainty leads to brain drain

Microsoft
Bailed out of “non-consumer” search, act like they are the heir-apparent, focused on ads first for ad money, search is second. Google started as a search engine, then looked into ads. Microsoft has major branding problems, trying out SearchPerks latest in giveaway attempt to get people to search on Microsoft’s Live Search

Google Master Plan?
Some planning: Chrome, Google Checkout, Google Shopping
BUT: lots of Google’s progress comes naturally, through a “hive mind” mentality
http://searchengineland.com/the-google-hive-mind-14832.php for article on hive mind
Hard to predict what Google will do. Increase advertising on Google applications

Googlettes
Google video is now video metasearch, been that way for about a year
Universal search mixing continues: blend results from many vertical search engines
Google Trends: continues to grow, data about website traffic
Community editing on maps growing, has spam problems
Google Blog Search: get top stories too, blog search clustering

Big Trends for Google
Personalized results: reshaping results based on where you are, what you are searching for, where you’ve been on the web
Search Customization: tailoring results based on geographic location, previous query, web history, start ramping up this customization
Now telling you that it is happening, explicit when changing query for you

Conclusion:
Google will continue to dominate, but mobile searching offers new opportunities

Take Home Message: Google is here to stay but is not the best service/application for everything. Branch out and try some of the Google Killerettes. Have fun.

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