Searchscape – The Latest Innovations in Search?

Online Search Marketing

Whilst Google has a stronghold on the Australian search market and many of the most important global markets, the fight for the search market is definitely not over and innovation continues.

So just what are the latest changes from Google & its competitors?

Wolfram Alpha

A new competitor is set to enter the search arena and it seems there is something special about this new entrant as it has many of the search geeks talking – me included. It is however important to note that Wolfram Alpha is not positioning itself as a search engine but as a knowledge engine.

Whilst many are talking about how the site may provide stiff competition, by trialling the site it is obvious that Wolfram Alpha does differ from Google and thus it may not be a replacement for Google search. Why? The site as it stands is not useful when searching for products and services and conducting research to make purchase decisions. Its purpose and strength is its ability for users to ask factual questions and for the system to compute and return the answers.

The search database is still largely undeveloped, however as it gathers pace it could be a likely alternative to source for key facts and figures that a user usually spend hours searching for on Google.

Microsoft Kumo Search

Microsoft has failed in its attempts to win any sizable market share from Google. In Australia, the Ninemsn platform retains 3 – 4% of the search market which is higher than Yahoo, however still not a sizeable portion of the market. In their upcoming launch of the new Microsoft Kumo search engine (in the next few weeks) the new Microsoft offering is expected to include integration of its semantic search functionality gained through their acquisition of Powerset in 2008.

From the sneak preview it is obvious Microsoft is also placing more importance on blended result. The rise of rich content will continue to see search engines place significant emphasis on blended results thus it is important that site owners/managers look to adopt and optimise rich content.

Google’s New Search Functions

Google has introduced several new search functions to improve the users search experience. The new search options include graphical search and social content filters. Whilst some of the advancements should greatly assist users to refine their search, (and one that was largely missing from the search arena) the question is how many will use these features as the filter options are not easily identifiable on the search results page.

Of particular importance Google has also introduced the rich snippets function;
Rich snippets allows webmasters to enhance their search listing from a standard listing by including information such as ratings, reviews, price range etc. The data is not automatically included by Google, webmasters must add additional mark-up’s to their pages to assist Google to access this data and display it when necessary. Refer to Google’s webmaster instructions for more information

Whilst search may seem to have lost the limelight to social media, innovation obviously continues and there are many exciting developments on the way. Over the coming weeks I will detail the latest search trends and what will emerge from the Next Generation search engines to provide you with an idea of where search is heading.

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