It is no secret that the king of search engines does not reign supreme for a very long time on the World Wide Web. Before Google’s claim to the title, Yahoo! reigned supreme after the dot com bust. It’s debatable, but the first true king of search in my mind was Alta Vista, and many more in between Alta Vista and Yahoo!
Therefore, in about a decade’s time, we have had 3 different search engines who claim to be the most frequented. That averages to about 3 - 4 years each. Now of course we know Google has been #1 for about 4 years now, so is 2006 the year Google starts to slip?
To answer this we need to take a look at why people (more men than women I might add) turned away from Yahoo! and opted for the Google results instead. For one, I’ll tell you, I like the simplicity of Google’s main search page. It was small, so it loaded fast but far beyond that, the search results WERE some of the best returned AT THAT TIME.
So I bet you’re wondering why I emphasized WERE and AT THAT TIME. Simply stated, today MSN and Yahoo! return almost identical results as Google does. Try searching all three for the same keyword and I bet you’ll get 80 – 90% of the same results for popular search phrases.
Now having the same search results as one another is a bad thing, but Google realizes they can’t hang their hats on search results alone. So they developed a whole host of other services like free e-mail, free instant messenger, toolbar, desktop search, and now rumors of a dirt cheap Google computer undoubtedly preloaded to ensure the end user is inundated with Google products and advertising, minimizing the option for the user to select a competitor like Yahoo! or MSN.
So now we have the belief that MSN and Yahoo! have caught up to Google in search quality, the reason most users left in the first place. And Google has started offering more content and tools like MSN and Yahoo!. Is that the sole reason why I think 2006 is the beginning of the end for Google as King of Search?
Nope, the single reason I believe users are itching for a new King of Search is Wikipedia. I am not sure if Wikipedia will ever replace Google but the general idea behind it will. If you don’t know what Wikipedia is I pasted some text below from their Web site.
Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia, written collaboratively by people from all around the world. The site is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit entries simply by clicking on the edit this page link. Wikipedia is a trademark of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.
Because Wikipedia is an ongoing work to which anybody with Internet access can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in some important ways. In particular, mature articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while other (often fledgling) articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopaedic content or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this in order to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation which has been recently added and not yet removed. See Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia for more details.
There is a lot of Buzz about Wikipedia, and users generally are pleased with the information that can be obtain about pretty much anything on Wikipedia. One of the major benefits is a user can get very accurate answers and cross reference related terms with out having to sift through thousands of search Web pages results put together by a computer running an algorithm. Let’s face it, search engine definitely pull things together and make finding information easier, but some of the results are pretty fair at best since search results and rankings are not reviewed by a human, but by an algorithm.
There are many drawbacks to the current process that Wikipedia employs, but I think there is some serious potential for a world-wide knowledge management system that produces in-depth accurate answers and also allows for advertisers to target very specific keywords and behaviors.
Bryan Hornung is the owner/founder of http://www.Marketing-Helpers.com . Marketing Helpers was founded to make it easier for businesses to get the answers they need to operate a successful Web site.