Vertical Search Apps as Champions Against Google Dominance

July 18, 2013

With a reminder that many tech predictions fail to come true, Traffick posits, “Remember Good Old ‘Vertical Search Engines Will eat Google’s Lunch’?” The article recalls a time years ago when some said specialized search portals were poised to give dominant, broader platforms some hefty competition. Google weathered that storm just fine.

Now, Google critics are again saying the search platform is too generalized, and that it is in danger from more specialized solutions (mobile apps this time.) While for many of these tools going public has supplied a financial edge, that advantage pales in comparison to Google’s stranglehold in the mobile environment. Still, writer Andrew Goodman observes:

“But with direct pipelines to their user bases, wisely built through timely and large cash infusions, this new generation of ‘vertical portals’ seems better positioned to stand firm than the flimsy attempts we saw a decade ago. . . .

“Some of the results could be surprising, heavily dependent on the type of ‘lens’ users prefer to see the world through. . . . Does everyone want to be subject to an opinionated ‘master lens,’ a giant Google Glass, if you will? An AOL, Facebook, or Apple style walled garden? Or will folks find ways of enabling more neutral platforms (or somehow using the above technology in a neutral way) that will help them do a better job of enabling many ‘starting points,’ a postmodern collection of ‘lenses,’ in the manner of their choosing?”

Good questions that only time can answer. Goodman suggests that Yahoo can help in the anti-monolith effort by shaking up their business model and snapping up some of these Google-free apps. He suspects a lot of users want to see vertical search engines take Google down a few notches. Hmm. . . we’ll see.

Cynthia Murrell, July 18, 2013

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