While Google is the number one search engine, and will likely continue to be that for a number of years, there is several thousand lesser search engines that are working hard to gain a part of the search market for themselves.
The English language market for search is largely made up of a few big giants. According to a report by comScore the market in October 2009 was dominated by Google (65.4%), Yahoo (18.0%), Microsoft (9.9%), Ask (3.9%) and AOL (2.9%), MapQuest, eBay, craigslist, Fox, MySpace, Facebook and Amazon.
With the search market valued at $300 Billion that makes every single 1% worth $3 Billion if selling the company and you would do very well by conquering just a 0.1% slice of that cake. The amount of search start-ups is only going to increase with more venture capital wanting a piece of the market.
My list of 7 is search engines that could very well make news in 2010. Not all of them are new, some are, but all have in common that they have been innovating in 2009 and they deliver good search results.
With two ex Googlers, Anna Patterson and Russell Power, in management and with the claim of being the worlds biggest search engine Cuil has a lot to deliver.
Overloaded servers that generated low quality search results hampered the initial 2008 launch giving Cuil a fair amount of negative media attention but of you try it out today you’ll find that the search results are good and there is an explore by category function that is among the best I have seen.
Sporting a Zero-click information box with facts about your search term, categories to refine your search and a special designation for the official site for the search term this search engine combines results from Yahoo BOSS, Wikipedia and its own crawler DuckDuckBot to give you neat and really useful search results.
Founded by Gabriel Weinberg, who started and then sold The Names Database, DuckDuckGo is a private venture and has grown steadily since its launch in September 2008. I think this search engine has a good niche carved out for itself, watch out for this search engine in 2010
This search engine is totally awesome. It draws the search results as newspaper clippings spread out on the screen with a mix of images and quotes from web pages. By scanning some of the clippings you get a decent overview of the topic you are researching and can make an informed decision on which search results to visit and read more about.
Spezify is very handy tool for brainstorming. You’ll get a ton of new ideas for your article or blog post just by typing your topic into the search box and watching the resulting mix of clippings and photos.
Secret Search Engine Labs
This search engine provides alternative search results by giving small sites the same opportunity to rank as large sites. With Google’s notorious preference for large, established sites like the Wikipedia and About many small sites get lost among the big boys giving room for alternative ways of ranking.
Secret Search Engine Labs was started as a hobby project in 2007 by Finnish software engineer Simon Byholm, has been growing steadily, and now has the aim of becoming the worlds best search engine by providing alternative search results and transparency about how sites are ranked.
First we had MSN Search, then Live Search and now with the latest re-launch we have Bing. With a strong marketing campaign Microsoft has managed to grab almost 10% of the marketplace for web search. The media attention surrounding the re-launch has fueled innovation adding new functions like the daily change in background photo, suggested topics and trends.
Watch Bing closely in 2010 as Microsoft is finally taking action to increase their market share. We are probably going to see more news from Bing in the year to come.
This is a fresh start-up that keeps its secrets almost as well as Google when asked about the what and the when of their new search engine. The strong management team with former employees from Topix, Google, AOL and Netscape Search makes me believe they have something fascinating going on.
We are still waiting for Blekkos official launch. It was promised by the end of 2009 though so you can expect it to make some serious headlines in 2010. We can only wish that it is exciting news.
Monitter is not a classic search engine but a real time Twitter search where you can monitor several keywords and see all tweets containing those keywords in real time as they happen. When you need to monitor you niche or area of expertise or if you just want to keep an eye on the conversation this is a great tool.
What About The Rest?
Chances are you already know that Google is innovating and you probably know they will make some noise in 2010. Wolfram Alpha is fascinating as it is the only major search engine that makes the results from data.
In addition to my list of seven there is also a multitude of new social and real-time search engines coming and there’s no way to know if one of them will become a permanent participant in the search market. You’ll find more information about these and thousands more at AltSearchengines.com.
There is now signs that we could see radical changes in the search engine landscape after years of rule by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and to some extent Ask. There’s so much new technology on display. New search engines making use of social networks, visual presentation, new semantic algorithms and real-time results to stand out from the crown are popping up everywhere.
The result, even if we get no new top three, is that the ruling giants will have to keep innovating to keep up with the crowd and in the end we’ll get a better search experience.
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