Vertical Search Any Competition for Google?

    January 15, 2008

Sramana Mitra has a post over at GigaOm that plays on her interest in Web3.0, which she defines on her site as the “verticalization of the web around specific Contexts”.

Her article covers a number of different examples of search verticals and shows how they are succeeding in meeting the relevancy demands of their users in much more efficient way than Google may ever be able to do. However with that said, the end goals of vertical search and the end goals of Google seem to me to be divergent.

Vertical search has the ability to ask very specific questions that they know are relevant to the query. Google on the other hand cannot make assumptions as to the specific needs of the user. Given the strength of branding that Sramana imagines these vertical search tools to obtain, she believes circumventing the need for Google and going right to the vertical search could pose a long term business problem for Google that they might never be able to over come.

Still the following quote from Sramana got me really thinking:

“At the back of my mind is a vision that is much bigger than vertical search. It is Web 3.0, a summation of context, community, commerce, content, vertical search and personalization. In the end, new brands able to build deep, rich, highly personalized Web 3.0 user experiences would become Google’s real competition.”

How do you feel about this conclusion? Does it feel to you like vertical search from a strong brand could be the challenge that Google is unprepared to meet?