The Animas Weblog has written a couple of
interesting posts in response to Ebrahim Ezzy‘s
Search 2.0 posts, featured on Read/WriteWeb recently (part 1 and part 2). In the first
, Animas frames his argument as a David vs Goliath struggle (the search 2.0
startups being, of course, David).


However in the Gospel according to Animas, sadly David gets smashed by Goliath:

“With few exceptions, I’m not convinced that any of the Search 2.0 companies
have any technology that creates a meaningful barrier to competition from traditional

In the
follow-up post
, Animas looks at the search 2.0 things that Google is doing “under the
hood”. Animas first argues that “Google’s ability to improve their search relevance
in response to personalized usage data is pretty staggering.” He/she (the name of the
Animas blogger is unknown) then lists out the ways in which Google could already
be improving their search relevance:

  • AdWords clickthrough data (all advertisers, all queries)
  • Organic clickthrough
    (javascript redirection for select search users, myself included)
  • AdWords conversion tracking data (transaction tracking pixel offered to AdWords
  • Toolbar data (anyone have stats on the number of toolbars currently installed?)
  • Google
    data (data for any websites participating in this free–for AdWords
  • Google Checkout

Also mentioned is Google’s Personalized
. Animas notes, however, that social networking is something Google needs to
improve (a point also made recently in a CNET article entitled
Google’s antisocial downside

Animas’ conclusion is that “Google is one step away from doing all of the things that
the Search 2.0 companies in Ezzy’s
can do.”

But actually, this was pretty much Ebrahim’s conclusion too. At the end of Part 2 of
Ebrahim’s article was this statement:

“While the intelligence required to conduct social search still resides in people, the
key to harnessing it lies in the network. TSEs have greater opportunities for traction,
with their substantial user bases – a key ingredient of any social network.”

Personally where I diverge from the Animas view is that I think the small search 2.0
startups have every chance of discovering something that Google (or Yahoo or MSN
or Ask) haven’t yet discovered. Just because Google has the technology and resources to
improve their search relevance, doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

Also, how do we know that what Google has under the hood is the equal of what one or two of the new
generation of search 2.0 companies have under their hoods?

I asked Ebrahim what he thought about the Animas posts. His reply was that we’ve yet
to see the PERFECT search 2.0 application. Ebrahim expects to see that by the end of the
year. Of course, I imagine he’s talking about his own search 2.0 startup Qube!

But the point is: don’t count out David just yet 😉

richard macmanus