firms hunt the next dotcom boom, by Mike Barton -
16th July 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
The boom days of the internet are back, but this time
it's not the content, but the means of finding it
that is causing the excitement.
has become a billion-dollar business, as well as the
buzz word defining the return of the internet economy.
Telstra's Sensis this week became the latest to offer
web search with a Google-like service that also looks
up telephone numbers.
this search battle is much bigger than just the web
and phone numbers. Google, which plans a float later
this year that is expected to place the company's
value at $US20 billion ($27.7 billion), plans to take
on Microsoft for ownership of the personal computer
and perhaps even the digital lounge room.
leads as the most popular search engine, as well with
innovative new search techniques such a personalised
and localised search.
web-based email service, Gmail, will soon let general
users store thousands of emails (up to one gigabyte)
and find information within them.
is becoming the operating system of the web, offering
a [user interface] on top of the websites," said
Jakob Nielsen, a web expert and principal of the Nielsen
Norman consulting group.
Google now wants to displace Microsoft on the computer
desktop. Google's search toolbar, a plug-in to Microsoft's
web browser, was the first nibble. Next came the Deskbar,
which provides search from within Windows.
latest, Browse By Name, released yesterday as part
of an upgrade to its search toolbar, allows users
to use real names instead of clunky web addresses.
Enter "BBC News" and news.bbc.co.uk pops
up in your browser; if there is no direct match, it
performs a search for the words entered.
and Microsoft are working on unified engines that
search the web and the computer, the centrepiece to
the digital lounge room of the future. Not surprisingly,
however, others want a slice of the action.
latest search tool, Blinkx, has beat Google and Microsoft
to market. Its dowloadable search tool not only searches
the web but simultaneously scours news sites, emails,
attachments and the files on your computer. It can
also search digital TV on the internet.
Blinkx website reportedly recorded 6 million links
a day from word-of-mouth publicity before its official
launch this week.
uses cutting-edge search technology, deploying artificial
intelligence, to rate stories. Blinkx's co-founder,
Kathy Rittweger, told The Guardian: "What it
is trying to say is that all words are not equal in
a sentence ... Quite critically, if you are looking
at a document and trying to figure out what it means,
Blinkx reads everything you are reading and sorts
out what are the key ideas."
the battle for search on the web is far from complete.
While Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo battle it out,
a flurry of innovative upstarts are now joining in.
Li, principal analyst at the independent technology
company Forrester Research, said: "[Although]
it continues to be the most innovative search company
out there, Google can't be everything to everyone."
companies have launched new-look engines with the
promise of Google-like performance, including Teoma
(from AskJeeves) and Wisenut (from LookSmart).
different approaches to web searching are emerging.
Mooter, an Australian company, uses artificial intelligence
like Blinkx to "dynamically personalise your
searching experience". Vivisimos's "Clustering
Engine", for instance, sorts search results into
categories, rather than one big list.
Jeeves - Ask.com
Library of Australia - Search the Internet
and entertainment website reviews
advertising chases $300m - 20th May 2004