Evolution of Search Engines

News.com writes about how search has evolved:

Once the primary road signs to navigating the Internet, directories have moved to the shoulder. They are being displaced by algorithmic search tools and commercial services that many people–Abbott among them–now believe do a better job in satisfying Web surfers and advertisers. The transformation is bringing to an end an altruistic era of human editors, who once wielded significant clout in driving traffic to Web sites through recommendations made without regard for commercial considerations.”

The transition has sparked a power shift in the search world that is forcing directory leader Yahoo to reinvent its search business to better compete with an uprising of algorithmic and commercial search providers, most notably Google and Overture Services. In response, Yahoo over the past year has continued to distance itself from its noncommercial directory roots, adding paid search links from Overture, demoting directory listings on its search pages to results provided by Google and scooping up algorithmic search provider Inktomi.

The recent flurry of activity at Yahoo has company watchers wondering what the future holds for the portal’s search tools, and what place, if any, there might be for its once dominant directory.

“In October, Yahoo made the directory secondary to Google,” said Danny Sullivan, editor of the industry newsletter Search Engine Watch. “Suddenly the value of getting listed in Yahoo seemed to disappear. Now, if you’re not listed with Yahoo, it may not matter.”

What Yahoo should do to regain its pre-eminence is to enable individuals (especially bloggers) to create their own directories on the lines of what I wrote earlier today.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.