As noted in the Weekly Wrapup, one of the 2 big news announcements this past week was Google rolling out "Universal Search", where they integrate search results from across their properties (news, video, etc) into the main search. (the other big news was Microsoft acquiring aQuantive). Read/WriteWeb has two analysis pieces on the Google news - Josh Catone compared Universal Search to other next-generation sandbox search initiatives, and Alex Iskold drilled down into the impact on vertical search engines. Both pieces are well worth reading, but in this post I want to pose the question that Alex asked: will vertical search engines survive this latest move by Google?
Before you answer, I'd encourage you to read Alex's post - and the comments. For example, Alex wrote in his post that "...no vertical is now safe. What would stop Google from including music, movies, jobs and travel in the list of right-hand contextual search navigation? Nothing really, it is just a matter of integration and a little time. No vertical is safe anymore."
However Nitin Karandikar notes in the first comment that "the best Vertical Search engines do a lot more than simply offering search results limited to a given domain; often, they provide specialized UI paradigms, domain-specific parameters, communities, partnerships within the domain, related services, and so on. Until Google can start focusing on these additional strengths (and I'm guessing they will stick to some key domains for the forseeable future, like jobs, real estate and travel), VSEs will continue to dominate specific domains. As an example, Zillow and Trulia provide results and services in real estate that go far beyond simply finding relevant web documents."
Alex responded that Google's vertical search integration will be 'good enough' for most consumers. Both are compelling arguments (and other commenters provide great food for thought too). What do you think? Please take part in our poll below and let us know.