Image credit: Newsweek
A Newsweek article makes the case for an alternative search engine to usurp Google and become the dominant 3rd generation search engine. Our own Charles Knight, from R/WW Network blog AltSearchEngines, features prominently in the article:
"If Google has been able to crush its search competition, it's not because it has perfected the art and science of Web searching. Far from it. Google is what the industry calls a "second-generation" search engine. First-generation engines like AltaVista found Web pages containing words that matched the user's search words. Google's innovation was to further rank a Web page by the other pages that link to it, on the somewhat shaky assumption that if a page is much-linked-to, it must be useful. Charles Knight, an analyst who runs the AltSearchEngines Web site, notes there's a plethora of good ideas for what a third-generation engine might bring to the party, and no shortage of companies trying to prove those ideas. "Each has shown they can do some aspect of a search better than Google can," says Knight."
Later in the article, it states that in 2005 and 2006, VC firms pumped $350 million into 79 search-related start-ups. Charles Knight tracks more than 1,000 search contenders, mostly U.S.-based, for AltSearchEngines.
Can one of the up-start startups usurp Google in the next generation of search? It'd be a brave person to bet against Google, given its resources and reputation for innovation. But the Newsweek article highlights very well that search isn't 'solved' yet and the switching costs to try another search engine are low. And so in those respects, Google is indeed vulnerable to a greater search technology coming along and wooing millions of users.