Internet Librarian 2002
Web Search Trends
By Paula Hane
Internet Librarian participants look forward each year to hearing from
Danny Sullivan, search engine guru and the creator of Search Engine Watch.As
the final day's keynote speaker, he examined what's happening with Web
searching tools. He said the past year had not seen huge developments,
but rather incremental changes, in our evolving Internet technologies.
Yahoo! and Google—and their alliances—dominated his comments. Yahoo!, long
known for its human-compiled directory information, recently began using Google
results. Sullivan said that Google had taken crawler-based listings to a new
relevancy level and thus had raised the bar for other search tools. But he
noted that directories are still available—both the classic Yahoo! (http://dir.yahoo.com) and
the Google Directory (http://directory.google.com),
which represents the best use of ODP (Open Directory Project) data. He also
said that MSN Search remains primarily reliant on human listings (see its category
links in Figure 1).
Google reigned supreme in 2002, having renewed its relationship with Yahoo!
and winning the contract to be AOL's search engine. Google in fact now powers
3 of the 4 most used search engines and handles 75 percent of searching traffic.
But while its supremacy is well-deserved, "it's tough to be king," said Sullivan.
Google is now being sued for patent infringement, and Sullivan thinks there
will be more legal challenges for it and others.
With relevancy and size getting closer among the competing engines, Sullivan
feels that unique feature sets—such as the power commands at Teoma and the "skins" and
support for a variety of file types at FAST (AllTheWeb.com)—will
be the distinguishing factors.
Paula J. Hane is Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief
and editor of NewsBreaks. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.