Vertical Search Engines Rising Again?
Several new Internet search companies have chosen to specialize in a particular subject matter rather than go toe-to-toe with full-featured search giants like Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and MSN.
The startups aim to prove a clever company can still find room in an industry despite the huge shadow cast by market giants Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves. At the core of each of their business models is that the big search engines cant find everything on the Internet, or fill every single need.
There have been a number of recent new "verticals," as search engines are honed to focus on a narrow set of topics. When asked to provide a list of hot search companies, an editor for the Web site SearchengineWatch.com included four verticals.
"What cant Google do? Health care," said a spokeswoman for Healthline, a northern California medical specialist search engine launching Monday.
Healthline specializes in helping people get access to sophisticated medical information. It uses cutting-edge semantic search techniques to let someone with limited medical knowledge mine sophisticated medical data from a Web site. By way of example, the company says searching for "Blackberry thumb" yields useful results.
PumpAudio, based in New York, debuted last week. It uses bleeding-edge search technology to match independent musicians with film, television and advertising production companies.
"Trick! Its pretty tight," said Martin Reynolds, a member of Bop City Pacific, a San Francisco Bay area hip hop group that signed up with PumpAudio on Monday.
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