For over a decade Google has been sorting through the internet to serve us the most topical and useful pages it has to offer. Its sophisticated algorithm has made it one of the world most successful companies and one of the most recognised brands.
But, Has Google search had its day? Is it time for a new kind of search engine to evolve out the web.
So what are the problems?
The Tortoise And The Hare
The issue is not one of quality, Google has always been the front runner when it comes to quality search results and this remains true today. The issue is one of speed, Googles search results rely primarily on links to establish the order or priority of its results. This is okay if your search results do not need to change regularly but what about search results that do need to change very rapidly like news pages. News Pages can have the potential to become very popular over very short periods of time. In this case Google is a little slow, think about it Google bots must find all the inbound links to a web page before it can start returning it within search results. In some cases a page may have even become obsolete by the time Google starts to rank it for relevant search terms.
In comparison to this social networks are very good at picking up on hot web pages and popular stories. Sites like Digg are specifically designed for these rapid rises in web page popularity and they work well. This is one of the reasons why Google consider social networking sites to be such a threat to there industry, it is not however the only reason.
Customise My Search
The other main problem that Google must over come is one of customisation. The actual search results that Google serve their user do not differ from one person to the next. Okay so you can alter the results somewhat by signing up but essential the results that I would get for a given search term are the same as the results that you would get. There in lies the issue, at no point are the personal preferences and opinions of the searcher taken into account when return their results.
Alternatively a search engine that was incorporated into a social networking environment would already have a vast amount of data on the searcher before they even began searching. This information could then be used to return highly targeted and useful results, in much the same way that advertising systems like Adsense do.
Think of Facebook for example, many of you will use it yourselves. Facebook knows your, age, location, job, interests, groups you join, people you know and in turn there interests. These are just a number of areas which Facebook could use to create a more personal search experience for its users.
Is Google Really In Trouble
I don't think we are going to lose Google any time soon, I also don't think that there is any real competitor within the search engine market yet, at least not one which can return consistently such high quality search results.
Lets not forget Google is a very large company and is well diversified in various areas of the web. However none so much as web search so it will be interesting to see how if at all Google decide to compete with the growing social aspects of the web.
Only very recently we have seen the addition of the +1 button and my guess is that Google will have to take a larger role in social networking or align itself with an already established network if it is to compete on all search fronts.
As always, like minded and contradictory view points are welcomed and encouraged. Please use the comments section below.
Is Google Search losing its foot hold on the web, are social networks taking over from good old fashioned searching ?
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