Specialty Search Sites Bloom

A directory site for engineers, GlobalSpec, takes a new approach to search by launching its own Web index and search engine that targets the 20 million Web pages focused on industrial products and specs. The site's approach points to a growing interest in

As Google Inc. and its competitors race to scour the far reaches of the Web for the most relevant results, a new breed of search engine is focusing on its own virtual corner.

GlobalSpec Inc., a search and directory site for applied engineers, this week relaunched the site with its own search engine that is crawling and indexing a subset of the Web focused on industrial products and components. Its move points to a growing focus on so-called specialty search engines that, through a combination of their own databases and specialized Web crawls, narrow search to a specific industry or topic.

"Search has clearly become the killer application for the expert professional community," GlobalSpec CEO Jeff Killeen said. "The next big thing is this notion of narrowcasting as it applies to search."

GlobalSpec, in what it calls "The Engineering Web," has indexed 100,000 Web sites and about 20 million Web pages about industrial products, specifications and parts, said John Schneiter, president and a lead founder of the Troy, N.Y., company. Its new Web search engine joins a database of about 60 million items, culled from 10,000 manufacturer catalogs, that it started to build eight years ago.

/zimages/1/28571.gifIn comparison, Google recently increased its Web index to include 4.28 billion Web pages. Click here to read more.

Beyond its Web index, GlobalSpec also is trawling the "hidden Web" to add hard-to-crawl content sources to its search engine. It has collected and categorized about 50,000 application notes that describe the use of specific products as well as 40,000 material property datasheets. It also has linked with Information Handling Service to provide standards information and has tapped a database of 4.3 million patents from MicroPatent.

Next Page: Major search engines also are creating some targeted search categories.