Quest For The Next Google

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A new year is upon us, and many industry analysts are speculating about whether or 2007 will be the year in which a new competitor arises to challenge Google. Reality, however, suggests that this type of scenario may not be quite as simple as it looks.

The problem with being at the top of the mountain is that someone is always trying to knock you off your perch. This is the dilemma facing Google in 2007, as it continues to sit atop the search and online marketing industries as undisputed champion.

New York Times writer Miguel Helft outlines the situation:

Even as Google continues to outmaneuver its main search rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft, plenty of newcomers – with names like hakia, ChaCha and Snap – are trying to beat the company at its own game. And Wikia Inc., a company started by a founder of Wikipedia, plans to develop a search engine that, like the popular Web-based encyclopedia, would be built by a community of programmers and users.

Is direct competition the answer, though? When you’re facing a Brahma Bull such as Google, a head-to-head confrontation may not necessarily be the best idea. Perhaps competitors should focus on achieving success in specialized fields rather than trying to challenge Google across the broad scope of its services.

Helft tends to agree with this thinking as he adds in his analysis:

An overwhelming majority are not trying to take Google head on, but rather are focusing on specialized slices of the search world, like searching for videos, blog postings or medical information. Since Google’s stated mission is to organize all of the world’s information, they may still find themselves in the search giant’s cross hairs. That is not necessarily bad, as being acquired by Google could be a financial bonanza for some of these entrepreneurs and investors.

Another blogger sees challenges to Google in other, non-conventional arenas:

Anyway, personally (putting on my smart hat here – hopefully it’s on right), I think that the next real challenge to Google is one of two things:

• &nbsp Social sites. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, you get lots and lots of lovely backlinks, and you are on the inside track; i.e., you are now part of the Cool Kids Club.
•   Itself. There’s such a thing as too many irons in the fire. There really, really is a tipping point. And if Google keeps going the way it has it either will A)do a lot of good stuff but all kinda halfass B)become the next Yahoo, with Tons Of Stuff Nobody Uses.

Pessmists like Doug McIntyre, however, concede that there may not be any direct threat to the Mountain View juggernaut anytime soon

The next Google? VCs are throwing money down a rat hole.

Whether or not it is a waste of time to take on Google is a question that can be hotly debated. The fact remains, however, that 2007 will certainly mark a year in which many will try, nonetheless.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Quest For The Next Google
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  • Cathy

    I’ve tried Cha Cha and it is very different than Google or any other search engine.

    I think if anyone has the opportunity to overpower Google or at least compete at the same level by offering a unique HUMAN POWERED edge – it would be ChaCha.

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