Index search and the future of the internet

A fascinating TED talk called “Six Ways To Save The Internet” by Roger McNamee sheds some light on his views on how a future internet will look. One of the six topics discussed is Roger’s view of the decline in Index search. I’ve put together a few points and key facts from the TED talk and would definitely recommend listening to it.

Index search has peaked – Four years ago, index search accounted for 90% of all search volume and with it the lead player in the search market, Google, became so successful as it continued to monopolise the search arena. When Google launched in 1998, the internet was an open source world lacking boundaries and structure. Google identified a need and requirement and stepped in to provide a platform to categorise content and  commoditise all forms of content within its Index.

But with the leap in index based searches so Google has become “littered” with non-authority content as well as SPAM – It has become such a concern for Google that the search engine has introduced their own webspam team, to quote the following search engine article: “They (Google) have a manual team that have right to remove websites that are, or are suspected of spamming. Not only do they protect their network from spam but they also provide insightful training data for the engineers whose sole purpose is to fight the continuous battle against web spam. So to be clear it is a combination of engineers and manual people, (web spam team), who fight to keep the Google network free from web spam so we, the user can try to enjoy the network hassle free from spam”.

Other initiatives Google introduced to counteract impacts affecting the quality of their search results were the Panda update and the Freshness Update – an update to ensure the most recent up to date content is provided to the user rather than old web pages. For example, a user typing in “Football results” is looking for the latest results and fixtures rather than historic content. You can check out the the Google Web Spam Team Goals for 2011 by viewing this video

The concern for Google is that users will turn their back on the search giant and begin to use alternative search verticals to satisfy specific search requirements. Examples include: LinkedIN for business/professional content; Facebook for social; for Dating, Tripadvisor for travel or Twitter for real time news.

Search is not going away but users are beginning to adapt their search habits – the rise in specific verticals associated with market trends of interest (e.g. TripAdvisor, LinkedIN) but also the device they use to carry out search activity, the rise of the smartphone.

My own view on the future of search is that search verticals will become more prominent and have a bigger part to play as content becomes more fragmented  and tailored for specific sector search (e.g. Weather, Sport, News, Travel).

It also provides a fantastic opportunity for brands to take ownership of their sector by producing more and more authority content to meet the needs and requirements of the search sector they operate in and look to command a monopoly within their vertical.

Within the search sector content is king and with it, there is still the opportunity for brands to step up to the mark and take ownership of the search sector.

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