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NYT On Search

By - March 10, 2005

Today’s Times has a longish piece on search titled “Search Engines Build a Better Mousetrap.” The article reviews alternatives to Google.

I am quoted in it, but the reporter misheard one key detail: I said “millions” not “billions” in the quote below…

John Battelle, who maintains a Web log about search technology (Searchblog, at, said innovations like “Block View” showed how dynamically the search companies were taking advantage of new technologies – and new economies.

“In 1997 you would have had to spend tens of billions, and it wouldn’t have made any sense,” Mr. Battelle said. “Now, you can strap a camera and G.P.S. on a computer and drive down the street taking pictures. It’s a neat idea, and it didn’t cost the farm to try. Now imagine that across the whole Web – that’s what’s happening.”

Even back in the late 90s, it would have been tough to spend billions on a feature like Block View! Also, the quote is … condensed. My point is simply this: Innovations like Block View are now sprouting up everywhere, throughout the web, not just in search. Why? Because they can, the ecosystem now supports it. That’s the Web 2.0 meme in action…

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4 thoughts on “NYT On Search

  1. Wasn’t there some web service in the 90’s that had pictures of every business address? I can’t remember (or find) the name, but it came to mind when I saw this feature.

  2. juliuss says:

    I’m here right now because of the NYTimes article. I was wondering about that billions quote too, I’m glad you cleared it up.

  3. Nick says:

    Hi! Just to flag that the “building by building” picture in main cities has existed in France on (Yellow pages) for many years. Its now extended to Spain also.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >the “building by building” picture in main cities has existed in France on (Yellow pages) for many years

    That’s true. And they have many advanced features such as natural language search. You type “I am hungry” (j’ai faim) and you get the list of restaurants.

    But the French Telecom are not too good at… communication!