Searching For The Best Engine

A global effort is underway to invent a better way of finding things on the Web. Could Google be vulnerable?

From my cover story in the March 7, 2007, issue of Newsweek (International Edition):

….Despite spending billions trying to diversify beyond the straightforward search offered on its stripped-down, almost childlike home page, Google reaps about 60 percent of its outsized revenues and more than 80 percent of its profits from ads on that page, according to analysts’ estimates. That means the company’s success continues to hinge on the dominance of its simple search. There are no guarantees that its dominance will last. It is threatened by a massive worldwide effort to build a better search, involving giant high-tech rivals, governments in Europe and Asia, and hundreds of tiny start-ups founded by academic wunderkinders much like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Stanford graduate students who founded Google in 1998. And it’s also dependent on an online public that may make up the most fickle market in history, an audience whose interests are already showing signs of wandering outside the search box…..  read more

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