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Nothing for Google to worry about…yet 27 August, 2006

Posted by Jay Ball in search, web 2.0.

Any brand who’s name enters the language has to have got something right. Of course, Google has got a whole bunch of things right again and again. It now seems a very long time ago that I’d regularly change my search loyalties as the next big thing came along. And media agencies the world over have scrambled to get their Google accreditation.

It appears at times that Google is an unstoppable force. As much as there’s been the occasional backlash, it often seems more sour grapes than anything else. And while Yahoo and MSN are significant forces (as well as others in other geographies) the argument tends to be around how many X million results you get in under a second. That and generic ‘gateway to the Internet’ or news portal positionings.

But most people never get past the first page of results. This fact alone keeps SEO consultancies in business. And with paid for results creeping into organics, user sceptisim will only grow.

So what does an alternative look like?

Well, social bookmarking seems to provide a good starting point. A search on del.icio.us tends to turn up more interesting results than traditional search (and without the obligatory ebay ads claiming you can ‘Find “your search term” on ebay’ even when you plainly can’t). Likewise StumbleUpon delivers up relevant results that aren’t the same old, same old. And newer hybrid tagged search + traditional search (see Wink whose new version should be out this week) may hold a longer term solution.

The key here is trust. People trust people (more than they trust brands and corporations). We are social creatures, far more interested in what other people are bookmarking than what paid search encourages us to look at. It’ll get interesting if and when the likes of Myspace forget deals with the Googles of the world and focus on tagged search. I’d lay money on community members having more faith in what other members recommend than what even positively regarded brands such as Google serve up. Until then, the vast majority of us will keep on Googling.



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