Search Engine

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2008-01-25 Print this article Print

So you can actually use a search engine to find the search engine?

Yeah, exactly. You won't find search results of the search engine that you're looking for, but you'll find the search engine itself. So if a lot of people, for example, are talking about Spock and saying Spock is the people search engine on the Web, and there are a lot of blog posts about it, and a lot of blog articles, a lot of links to, Google's going to capture that. So when you then eventually go to Google and type in people search, or people records, or something like that, the first link or the first couple of links might be Same thing with products, or the same thing with travel search, same thing with any other type of vertical search that you might be doing.

So if I needed to rent office space I could go to Google and look for office space rentals and I would find search engines that specialized in rentals?

Exactly. You might find a search engine like I don't qualify them as search engines; they're more directory. But then you will quickly find search engines out there that have compiled aggregate information across the Web on just office space, for example. It shouldn't take you too long to do that using a general search engine.

What is the benefit to me as a business owner of using such specialized vertical search engines?

I think they do a really good job of getting the details that you're looking for. I'll give you two examples that are really valid. For example, if I'm doing a people search ... say I'm hiring someone and I want to look up someone on the Web, which is a very common thing that people do now, or I might be doing business with someone and I want to look them up on the Web, I type their name in on a general search engine and I might get 100 results back. And some of them might be some other person with the same name. So I get a mediocre result on a general search engine. Whereas if I go to a specific vertical search, I'll type in a person's name, and I'll be like, "All right, I've got 10 results here, but those 10 results are filtered by a unique person." And it can be like, "Hey, yep, that's the person I'm looking for, and here are the 10 most relevant links to that person that exist on the Web." So you get a very good result without having to do a lot of the investigation work. Same thing with travel. I might go to a vertical travel site and say, "Search across the entire Internet and find me the best travel from New York to L.A." They'll get you a very specific result back and save you a lot of the effort that you would normally do by yourself. They'll do the work for you and you get the top specific results that you're looking for. Without these search engines existing, for people search you'd have to say, "OK, is this John Smith or is that John Smith? Are they the same person? I can't tell." Or you'd be like, "Hey, I have to go to Expedia, I have to go to Orbitz." Or they go to, you know, six other Web sites and then manually type in stuff and search for the right deal and still might not get every site that offers the best deal out there. Vertical searches really help you take a lot of the work off your shoulders and make sure that you have a comprehensive experience.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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