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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Search wars: WolframAlpha joins the battle

by Daina Thomas 0 comments

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The ongoing battle of browsers is still on fire. And now the battle of search engines is heating up.

Microsoft is relaunching its search engine with new bells and whistles. Yahoo is getting away from results being generated as straight links and newcomer WolframAlpha has just released an "answer engine," designed to do just that...provide answers.

With a 64.2% market share, according to comScore, Google is the clear leader when it comes to online search. Experts say rivals like Yahoo (20.4% market share) and Microsoft (8.2% market share) will need to find ways of differentiating themselves in order to make a sizable dent.

Google's dominance in search goes even deeper than the market share numbers generated by comScore, said Aggarwal. Google gets most of its traffic from searches made directly on, while 98% of Yahoo's and Microsoft's traffic comes through portals like MSN and Yahoo Finance rather than searches on and, he said.

That means competitors have an even steeper hill to climb, because "googling" has become synonymous with "search."

"We're creatures of habit," said Susan Feldman, search engine analyst with IDC. "The tech aspects of improving search are not as hard as improving the 'people' aspects."

Microsoft. Is on the cusp of unveiling its new search engine under the code-name "Kumo" though it is expected to ultimately be called "Bing." Aggarwal, who has tested the new search engine, said Bing improves the relevance of its links and presents search results differently from Google, Yahoo and even from Microsoft's current search engine,

Bing is set up to organize search results in relevant groups rather than as a series of links. For instance, a search for "fly to New York," may yield New York destinations like hotels, restaurants and museums as almost a guidebook page. The same search on generates straight individual links that users have to go through one by one.

Aggarwal said Bing may have chance at becoming a "destination" Web site like Google, because the site's technology has been better tested.

"Live wasn't ready for prime time because the technology was too premature" and users weren't repeat customers, he said. "Now Microsoft thinks they're ready."

Yahoo. Yahoo is tinkering with the types of results that come up after a search.

The company is trying to provide information, including images and answers from databases, rather than a long series of links, according to analysts. For example, a search on for "Star Trek" brings up an image with the movie trailer, a review, and a zip code/address box that will bring up local show times.

WolframAlpha. When WolframAlpha launched last week, there was a buzz that it could become the next Google "killer." But the company maintains that WolframAlpha isn't even a search engine. A query on yields calculations and database results rather than links to other Web pages.

"It really is meant to supplement search, not to be a search competitor," said John Ekizian, spokesman for WolframAlpha. "WolframAlpha will always give you the right answer, and that's a lot different than search."

"People's search queries are getting longer over time," said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at comScore. "This might bode well for an engine like WolframAlpha, which appears designed to handle more detailed search queries."

Google. While competitors are nipping at Google's heels, the search giant isn't standing still.

"Search is not done, and Google is not the be-all and end-all of search engines," said Howe. "Google would agree, and that's why they're constantly making changes too."

Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products, told CNNMoney that Google released more than 360 relevance changes to improve the search engine last year.

Google continues to explore new ways to grow. "Search is a very competitive space, so for us there's always pressure to be better," said Mayer. "You need to keep up that pace of innovation."

New innovations like Google Squared, which will allow users to view searches in a matrix form on their screen, and Google voice search are in the works, she said.

Still, some think that Google's competitors are getting close to taking away some of Google's dominant market shares.


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Hello Everyone, I am K.P.Pandey.I am a technical and security specialist, associated with numerous tech firms including iYogi. iYogi is synergistic ally aligned to offer tech support, Microsoft support, computer repair, PC help services, computer support, online technical support, data back-up services to its clients in Australia, US, UK and Canada by Microsoft certified technician.

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