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Search Davids chip away at Goliaths

Charlene Li over at Forrester Research says today that search engines such as Google and Yahoo that engage in a game of one-upmanship are missing the big picture -- and the real threat to their user base. Based on a consumer survey Forrester conducted, Li says search engine users are not necessarily a loyal bunch, opening the door for specialized search engines to steal users.

I believe that even as the major search players continue to extend their reach, growing consumer sophistication will mean that specialized search will make their debut -- and stick. Look at Singing Fish for audio/video search, local-i.com for local search, and Feedster for RSS feeds. And don't forget that there are already many examples of vertical "search" engines with access to proprietary databases, such as cars.com, Expedia, and Monster. So look out big guys -- even as you extend your reach beyond Web search, look out for the little guys who will start chipping away at your users.

UPDATE: Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch deconstructs the Forrester item.


Firefox impact on Google

Steve Hall says:
"It hit me this morning that one of the Firefox browser's key features, the search bar, could serve to reduce Google's chokehold on all things search-related. For those of you who do not use Firefox, it's worth explaining that the built-in search bar is default set to Google, but you can easily choose from a drop-down menu to search using other sources such as eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, etc. (Note: Apple's Safari has this same feature). So this is quite handy when you are looking for something fairly specific (like a product on eBay) and you can just search in the bar without having to go directly to eBay (or through Google first) to do so.

What I did not previously realize was that anyone and everyone could develop search bar "add-ins" to customize their browser (duh, that's why we call it "open-source" Steve!). There are several hundred add-ins that have been developed bringing you topic-specific search capabilities within numerous categories: Netflix, Wikipedia, Weather.com, Buy.com, Bloomberg quotes, IMDB movie database, etc. If you think about it, the most useful sites that we keep going back to are often simply highly targeted search vehicles for a specific type of information (e.g., products, stock quotes, weather, etc.). And of course, you can also add Google-specific sub-engines such as Froogle, Google News, Google Images, Google Groups."


Dimitar Vesselinov on December 9, 2004 10:42 AM
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There's also a new Firefox search plug-in for Google's Gmail. http://philwilson.org/blog/2004/12/search-your-gmail-in-firefox.html

Michael Bazeley on December 9, 2004 11:29 AM
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