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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Vertical Search Advances In Recent Times

We recently covered Search Evolution : Vertical, Horizontal, Niche!! where we wrote, we are beginning to see usage of niche search engines more and more(though all niche search engine usage put together could be substantially less than any one general search engine usage). For example services with discovery mechanisms powered by specialized algorithms like Findory or Topix shall always find a special place in the internet world where the volume of digital content is swelling by the day. Niche players need to provide more and more specialised offering and creating a new category of service that mainstream players may not be able to focus and provide - like Amex offering more than what traditional banks can offer - traveller's cheque convenience.
SFGate has come out with an excellent coverage about vertical search engine advancements where it sees a proliferation of companies creating search engines that are focused on narrow topics. Excerpts with edits and comments:
Job seekers, shoppers and teens all have new search engines devoted to their interests. Driving the search industry's niche evolution is the reality that the general purpose search engines of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN fail to find relevant links for many queries. The theory is that vertical search engines will be more effective in connecting users with the information they want. "There are times when you are looking for something discrete and, from an efficiency standpoint, a vertical search engine may help you find what is essential to you," said David Hills, chief executive for LookSmart, who introduced five vertical search engines last week.
Vertical search isn't new. Such Web sites have existed for years to help users find people, shop, read blog entries and get business information. What's happening now is a dramatic acceleration in the number of engines rolling out. By going vertical, search engine companies hope to reduce extraneous results for users by better guessing users' intent. Vertical search engines also can ask questions more quickly. Shopping search engines, for example, can ask up front the color, size and manufacturer of what you want to buy. Vertical search isn't just for startups. Web giants Google and Yahoo are intensely interested. Both have their own engines for local information, shopping, images, video and news. At the same time, each is trying to outdo the other with more unusual offerings. Amazon.com is trying to outdo them all by making dozens of vertical search engines available on its nascent engine, A9. The company started inviting vertical search companies to make their engines available on its Web site. A9 users can choose among the dozens currently available. They can then get results from them listed alongside those from A9's general purpose engine, provided by Google. A strong online advertising market has a lot to do with the interest in niche search, according to analysts. Executives can run targeted text ads next to the results from such companies as Google and Yahoo, a strategy that has proven to be a financial boon to the overall search industry. Vertical search engines specializing in shopping, financial services, media and entertainment, and travel appear to have the best chance of survival. Advertisers are already spending large amounts of money on those sectors.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"