New Search Engines - Do We Have A Google Killer?
New Search Engines - Do We Have A Google Killer?
Copyright © Titus Hoskins
Search engines are the pimp masters of the web. They supply customers for all that endless content littered across billions upon billions of webpages. Search engines play a vital role in not only how the web functions, but in how we actually see the web itself. The two have almost become synonymous with one another; interlaced and interdependent. And it can be easily said: neither one can truly exist without the other.
At the present moment, when anyone mentions search engine or web search, Google automatically pops into everyone's head. Google is the dominant search engine with around 72 percent of U.S. online searches and that percentage is much higher in other parts of the world. (Source: Hitwise)
Despite its obvious dominance, Google is still the new kid on the block. There have been many search engines before Google and there will be many more search engines after Google. Every entity has its day and then passes the torch along to whatever comes next.
Top dogs come and go, no matter if we're talking about empires, countries, leaders, companies... or even search engines. Are the days of Google as a the top search engine on the web numbered? Probably not, at least not yet, but give it some time and Google could definitely lose some ground to the newer kids on the block.
In a recent article on CNN, by John D. Sutter, entitled "New Search Engines Aspire To Supplement Google" the author examines some recent new search engines. The author discusses: Hakia, Wolfram Alpha, and TweetMeme. Each of these are different, making your web search more personal, more visual, or connecting your search to new social networks like FaceBook and Twitter.
Some experts say Wolfram Alpha is the most likely candidate to give Google some serious competition because Wolfram can do something Google can't; it can create information rather than just reading/presenting content already on the web.
Then there is the new search engine from Microsoft's Bing, which is very similar to Google, yet does offer more results to your queries and a very handy preview button, that may just catch on with web users if they can ignore the fact that it is coming from Microsoft. Only time will tell if everyone would rather be binging instead of googling. To bing or not to bing that is the question?
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft with its very deep pockets, can present a serious challenge to Google. If Microsoft keeps its simple and offers just as good or better search results - we may just have a battle in the making. Internet users can change their daily routines on a turn of the head - see for yourself, just do a comparison of myspace, facebook and twitter in Alexa.com or Google Trends... notice how quickly facebook has risen. That's probably comparing apples to oranges but you get the picture. Bing might just give Google some serious competition.
Here's a very informative article on Bing by Farhad Manjoo on Slate: Beware Google: Microsoft's new search engine isn't half-bad.
For me, the one that shows the most promise and may give Google the most competition is Searchme, which is a visual search (much like the iTunes interface) where you can shuffle through screenshots of webpages instead of a list of links. Searchme which touts itself as the first multimedia search engine, has been around for a few years but is not widely known to web users. Performing a search on Searchme with a 24 inch monitor and 64-bit Windows is a hundred times more enjoyable than using Google Search. It is a hundred times faster than Google mainly because you can generally find your information without clicking through to the sites displayed.
Searchme is truly an eye opener but can it give Google some serious competition. The jury is still out but I believe over time as web users upgrade their computers, operating systems, and their graphics... Searchme will be more accessible to more web users. Never know, with the right backing and marketing, any of these search engines and especially Searchme could blossom into a formidable opponent even for the mighty Google.
Here's why: Human Nature!
Humans are lazy - most people are generally lazy and want the fastest and easiest route to solving any question or problem. Searchme gives them the answer much, much quicker than Google. And in a much nicer way.
Humans are visual creatures - given the choice between pages of text and viewing images of sites/answers, most of us will take the visual route. TV over radio, music videos over records... video enhanced content over just plain static HTML.
Humans have a need for speed - in our fast paced lifestyles, we all want a speedy solution to our problems. Search is no different, we want quick answers now, we want instant solutions and immediate gratification. Nature of the beast.
Humans want options - we need a search engine that will quickly give us hundreds of options to choose from and Searchme gives/lets you read hundreds of web page results without having to click through to the pages themselves.
Humans are stubborn - for the most part, most of us are stubborn, we like to make up our own minds. In general, we are all that rebellious teenager who never likes to be told what is the right answer. Google is becoming too authoritative and run the risk of becoming everyone's interfering parent and could suffer the consequences.
Of course, a search engine can have all the bells and whistles it wants but if the search results is not "Top Quality" then Google will never have to worry about its dominance in the search marketplace. Searchme's main objective has to be not only to beat Google with faster, easier and more aesthetically pleasing results but they also have to match Google on the quality of those results. Offering high quality relative results is Google's trump card, other search engines like Searchme will have to deliver the same quality if they want to truly compete with Google.
For me, using Searchme was such a pleasant experience, you sometimes forget you're using a search engine. I was totally surprised, even a little bit shocked when I searched my name in Searchme; it was much quicker and much more enjoyable than using Google or any other search engine for that matter.
If Searchme ever gives Google a run for it's money, then there will have to be a definite shift in SEO tactics and positioning. The SEO fall-out could be quite significant. Being number one in the SERPs is no longer that important because of the way the pages/results are presented to the user. Being number 3 or 4 would put your website square in the center focus of the user/viewer. Actually, you can swiftly pan through the results so any position within the top 20 - 30 could be equally beneficial. Many Searchme users will probably view many more results simply because the interface is such FUN to use.
What really determines if you get the user's attention will largely depend upon the visual quality of your page; you have to hook the viewer visually in order to get your contents read and then hopefully a click-thru to your site. Since most of the first page can be read without going to your site, there will be lot less actual traffic generated by a search engine such as Searchme. However, the traffic that flows through could be super-targeted because these users may have examined 100's of sites before deciding on your page.
Google must obviously know there are challenges to its search engine dominance. Otherwise, why would they be offering many new features in their SERPs; we are seeing more images and videos. Plus, Google has just introduced the "show options" link at the top of their SERPs, which presents their search results in many different ways. They even have introduced the "Wonder Wheel" as another viewing option, which gives a whole new way of using Google's search results.
Google's Achilles' Heel may just be the thing that gives it all its revenue: text ads. There may be a backlash on all those Google ads littered across the web, especially among the younger computer savvy crowd using such sites like the Google owned YouTube, where Google has nearly obliterated the videos with its ads. Everyone dislikes advertising, no matter what form it takes.
However, any news of Google's demise will be greatly exaggerated, because Google, like any smart company with tons of resources, has kept morphing and changing with the times, quickly adapting to new changes as our usage of the web keeps changing. Google has perfected the art of staying one step ahead of the competition. This is one pimp that won't go down without a fight to the finish. Top dogs rarely do.
If they ever present a serious challenge to Google, Searchme or any of the above search engines, will have a formidable opponent in the opposing corner, one that has gained almost insurmountable prestige and brand recognition around the world. Any major battle will instantly have a "David vs Goliath" scenario attached to it. And we all know how that one played out!
The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools Copyright © 2009 Titus Hoskins.
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