Niche search services could herald hard times ahead for the Web's own 800-pound Gorillla
Nothing lasts forever. And while Google is riding high on the crest of a wave, there is an almost imperceptible undercurrent that could spell trouble for the search giant's future.
First things first: Google makes its money delivering targeted advertising to the millions of people around the world who use its search engine.
If you own a swimming-pool supply company, you'd best buy Google keywords that cover this territory so that swimming-pool shoppers will come to your site.
On this, Google has built an empire.
So what is this "imperceptible undercurrent" tickling that part of my brain that thinks about business?
Niche, vertical, boutique -- call them what you will -- search engines. These search service providers are looking at various search technologies to optimize specialized searches.
Take ZoomInfo, for example, which uses semantic search to offer search results limited strictly to business information. I don't intend to get into the guts of how a semantic search engine actually works, but suffice it to say, by using NLU (Natural Language Understanding), which can make sense of unstructured data, semantic search is better equipped to narrow down search results to a far more manageable number than Google does.
Let's say you want to find a company that sells Web analytics software. Try searching on Google and then ZoomInfo, and see which provides the most relevant results.
Doing so, I got 66.8 million hits on Google.
As a registered user, I got 234 hits on ZoomInfo. But here is a sample of the first three hits from each: