Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vertical Search vs. Google

I have blogged in the past about how Gogole's PageRank algorithm is providing decreasingly useful search results, and how vertical search is much more targeted and useful. The main issue here is that most searches are context-driven, for example when you type in a word and hit search, are you looking to buy something, a definition, or a review?

The vast majority of my searches are vertical searches from the Firefox search toolbar. I have installed the following search engines into the dropdown:

Amazon
Dictionary.com
EBay
Facebook
Google Maps
IMDb
LinkedIn
MySpace
Songza
TheFind.com
Thesaurus.com
WhoIs Lookup
Wikipedia
Yelp
YouTube
Mycroft (to find more search engines to add!)

For example, if I hear of a new artist on the radio and want to check out more tracks, I select Songza. If I want to check out their fan presence I select MySpace. And if I want to buy tracks or the album, I select Amazon. Picking the search vertical and then typing the search term is much more efficient than typing in the search term, looking at what Google returns, processing the results, and then going from there.

Although I have an engineering-oriented mindset when approaching search, there must be quite a few people performing searches in a similar way since both Firefox and IE have dedicated prime toolbar real estate to an extensible search box. Why wade through an unpredictable, interim web page when you can go straight to what you're looking for?

2 comments:

Sam said...

Playing around with an idea after reading you post:

http://vertisearch.appspot.com/

Basically it looks at the top results and if amazon, imdb, wikipedia, facebook or linkedin are in the results it jumps to the page. Might put in another heuristic that only does that for top 3 links and for 7-10 it jumps to their search engine instead. Kind of fun to play with though.

Sam

Peter Yared said...

Sam, this is a great! It is like "I'm Feeling Lucky" scoped to the top internet sites. Schweet!