New Search Engines - Can Anyone Beat Google?
by Titus Hoskins
Can any new search engine beat Google, probably not, mainly because Google isn't going anywhere but up. It is the dominant search engine with around 72 percent of U.S. online searches and its percentages are much higher in other parts of the world. (Source: Hitwise) However, there are some serious new competitors that may just take a bite out of Google's rosy search numbers. Never know, one or several of them, may just give Google a run for those all important search engine dollars.
Recently, there has been a whole army of new search engines debuting on the web. If you're a full-time online marketer like me, you really have to keep your eyes open to what is happening on the web, especially relating to search engines which deliver most of your quality traffic. Also keep in mind, this piece may be fairly biased since Google is directly or indirectly responsible for around 80% of my online revenue, so any opinions may be slanted in Google's favor, not that they need any favors from me or anyone.
But as an online marketer you have to try to remain objective and examine all angles in regards to these new search engines. Despite this, in marketing and webmaster circles, everyone will know even if you have the number one ranking for a certain keyword in all three major engines Google, Yahoo! and MSN - Google supplies the most traffic, hands down.
Despite its obvious dominance, Google is still basically the new kid on the block. We have to remember, there have been many search engines before Google and there will be many more search engines after Google. Every entity has its day and then hands the torch along to whatever comes next. It's one of those subtle facts of life we all learn eventually.
Everybody has their day - empires, countries, leaders, companies... or even search engines. Are Google's days as top dog really numbered? Probably not in the immediate future, but there are some new kids on the block that could definitely kick some sand in the face of Google and stir things up, we might even see a few serious squabbles here and there.
In a recent article on CNN, by John D. Sutter, entitled "New Search Engines Aspire To Supplement Google" the author examines some recent new search engines. The author discusses: Twine, Hakia, Searchme, Cuil, Kosmix, Wolfram Alpha, Topsy, TweetMeme and OneRiot. Each of these are different, making your web search more personal, more visual, or connecting your search to new social networks like FaceBook and Twitter.
Some experts say Wolfram Alpha is the most likely candidate to give Google some serious competition because Wolfram can do something Google can't; it can create information rather than just reading/presenting content already on the web. Will it present a solid threat to Google's dominance?
Perhaps, a more fitting sparring partner will come from an old rival with very deep, deep pockets. We are talking about the new search engine from Microsoft called Bing, which is very similar to Google in many ways, yet different. Bing's results are very similar to Google in a lot of ways, yet Bing serves up the results in a very pleasing arrangement, with a nice preview button for each listing and giving you related searches and your search history on the left hand side. Only time will tell if everyone would rather be binging instead of googling. To Bing or not to Bing, that is the question? There's a very informative article on Bing by Farhad Manjoo on Slate entitled: "Beware Google: Microsoft's New Search Engine Isn't Half-bad." Just Bing or Google to find it!
I personally like this search engine much better than MSN mainly because the home page of Bing is very appealing and only has the search box on it so you're not distracted with other news listings like on MSN and Yahoo! One of the main reasons for Google's success, besides the superior search results, has been its simplicity. Keep it simple and you may just be able to compete.
Then again, this is a bit of a biased judgment, since many of my own keywords and sites rank high in Bing; some even higher than they are listed in Google. I routinely monitor countless keyword phrases in all the search engines and lately Google has been favoring big Brand Name listings on their first page results. We are also seeing more Product Listings (Old Froogle), more video and more news listings... competition for Google's first page has become multi-layered and extremely competitive. What's a poor small online marketer to do when Google goes corporate?
Actually, Bing is not my favorite search engine of the new ones forcing their way into the spotlight.
For me, the one that shows the most promise and may give Google some competition is Searchme, which is a visual search (much like the iTunes interface) where you can shuffle through screenshots of webpages instead of a list of links. Searchme, which touts itself as the first multimedia search engine, has been around for a few years but is not widely known to web users. Performing a search on Searchme with a 24 inch monitor and 64-bit Windows is a hundred times more enjoyable than using Google Search or Bing for that matter. It is a hundred times faster than Google mainly because you can generally find your information without clicking through to the sites displayed.
Searchme is truly an eye opener but can it give Google some serious competition. The jury is still out, but I believe over time as web users upgrade their computers, operating systems, and their graphics... Searchme will be more accessible to more web users. Never know, with the right backing and marketing, any of these search engines, especially Searchme and Bing could blossom into a formidable opponent even for the mighty Google.
Here's why: Human Nature!
Whether we admit it or not, most of us (Humans) are lazy, we want the fastest and easiest route to solving any question or problem. Searchme gives us the answer much quicker than Google and in a much nicer way. Mainly because we are also visual creatures, given the choice between receiving pages of text and viewing images of sites/answers, most of us will take the visual route - we will choose TV over radio, music videos over records... video enhanced content over just plain static HTML. As the web turns into more of an interactive multimedia operation; visual search will always win out over text search any day of the year.
Most humans also have a need for speed, in our fast paced life styles, we all want a speedy solution to our problems. Search is no different, we want quick answers now, we want instant solutions and immediate gratification. Nature of the beast. If Searchme, Bing or any of the other search engines becomes faster than Google at giving the right answer, then it's a whole new ballgame.
Google must obviously know there are challenges to its search engine dominance. Otherwise, why would they be offering many new features in their SERPs; we are seeing more images and videos. Plus, Google has just introduced the "show options" link at the top of their SERPs, which presents their search results in many different ways. They even have introduced the "Wonder Wheel" as another viewing option, which gives a whole new way of using Google's search results.
Google's Achilles' Heel may just be the thing that gives it all its revenue: text ads. There may be a backlash on all those Google ads littered across the web, especially among the younger computer savvy crowd using such sites like the Google owned YouTube, where Google has nearly obliterated the videos with its ads. Everyone dislikes advertising, no matter what form it takes.
However, any news of Google's demise will be greatly exaggerated, because Google, like any smart company with tons of resources, has kept morphing and changing with the times, quickly adapting to new features as our usage of the web keeps changing. Google has perfected the art of staying one step ahead of the competition. This is one champion that won't go down without a fight to the finish. Top dogs rarely do.
If they ever present a serious challenge to Google, Searchme, Bing or any of the above search engines, will have a formidable opponent in the opposing corner, one that has gained almost insurmountable prestige and brand recognition around the world. Any major battle will instantly have a "David vs Goliath" scenario attached to it. And we all know how that one played out!
About the Author
The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous niche sites.
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Copyright © 2009 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.