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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Search Engine Mania by John Dvorak

The Internet is getting to be more and more like Hollywood. Successful movies spawn numerous copycats, and this is now happening with search engines as well. Since Google is making money and is expected to bring in big bucks in a midyear IPO, suddenly search engines are the next big thing. But unlike in Hollywood—where the spin-offs, rip-offs, and clones are seldom as successful as the movie that spawned them—search engines just keep giving users better and better tools. John Dvorak writes,"Google began with a unique page-ranking concept that determined page popularity by looking at the number of references from other sites. Before Google, the top engine was arguably AltaVista, which went south after Compaq bought Digital Equipment Corp., the company that maintained it. Before and after AltaVista, a slew of interim hotties came and went. The original progenitor was WebCrawler. Among the popular search engines was the still-popular Yahoo!, which took the directory approach and provided search as a secondary mechanism. Yahoo! will probably be the only company unscathed in the upcoming battles, unless it chooses to associate itself with the looming mess". He concludes by writing,"However this shakes out, at least one thing is certain: We'll have a lot of different search choices, and that's pretty much the only way we can navigate all this information". Very impressive analysis of the growth of the search engine players and expected developments in this space in the days to com.
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