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And The Search Goes On…A Year of Coverage In One Post

By - April 02, 2006

Book Open-4Well, chalk one up for wishful thinking. Back in December I did my annual predictions post, and in it I wrote:

I will not write another book, but my publisher will ask me to update the one I did write. I’ll point him to this site and leave it at that….

Well, I’m still not writing another book (though I will admit, I miss the process of writing terribly); but a portion of this prediction is coming true: My publisher has asked me to update the book, for the paperback, due out this Fall. However, my flip response of pointing him to the site and leaving it at that was not well received. In other words, I have an Afterward to write, and damn pronto. In true authorial fashion, I’m already very late on it, so I’ll be outlining it early this week, and hope to have a draft quickly.

Thank God for this site. While I can’t point paperback readers to it, I can look back at the past year’s worth of posts and quickly see what’s happened that might be worth noting. (Why a year? I pretty much cut off updates to the book by May of 2005…)

Here’s my first cut take on things which mattered in search, media, and technology over the past year. What have I missed?!

- The Google backlash story, which is ongoing.

- The China story: Google going into China, Yahoo also having its issues there, (and the subsequent Congressional ire). I wrote about this looming crisis at some length, but had no idea it would come so quickly.

- The NSA spying and the DOJ subpoenas. Same here, the Database of Intentions is clearly too compelling for the Govt. to ignore. This is a major milestone in the cultural/societal thread of the story. Other examples abounded as well…along with my own little made up scenario….

- Google’s clear entry into the media and portal businesses (via Finance, selling video and eBooks, Base, and others), and its entry into the *software* publishing business via Pack and various Toolbar deals (Dell comes to mind) and other distribution deals (Sun). Also, the clear intention to mess with MSFT via buying Writely, et al. From single service, to full blown application suite…

- And, come to think of it, it’s entry into the Amazon and eBay biz’s as well.

- The AAP Lawsuit….and more lawsuits….and resolutions of some lawsuits…and defense on principles….

- Ongoing Google Grid, Wifi, and related conspiracies….

- Comcast and Newscorp respond to the Google/Yahoo threat…there’s more than Print at stake here.

- The net neutrality issue really really really heats up….

- Yahoo’s strength in all things Web 2, but its less than clear sense of direction with regard to its entertainment and media business, and despite its vision, its lack of traction (yet) with social search and networking (though Local is still the bomb.)

- Microsoft did not move the needle much, save v 1.0 of Live and some promises about Web 2 apps and new paid models, despite a major focus on search. The ongoing war with Google over all things was certainly entertaining, however, but perhaps a new strategy is needed…

- Amazon kept the pressure on, introducing a new search platform, a storage platform, and a different approach from Google on print. But it lost Udi to Google.

- Google’s less than stellar job at handling new product intros like Video, Accelerator, IM, and Fusion, and it’s search to find its voice as a leader in the space it dominates. Also, the general sense that the company might be going in too many directions so early in its young life. The company, however, is a fast study, as I noted in my post on merchandising.

- Ask’s integration into IAC and DIller’s emergence as a macher in the search platform wars.

- Folks start to talk about search literacy. I think this is important.

- GOOG’s killing its numbers for most of the year, hitting nearly 500, from less than $300, then missing expectations, and settling back to near 400. Also, its two secondaries and $8 billion in cash, waiting for …. what?

- Well, AOL, for one

- Small steps have been taken towards my Tivo and Wine fantasies ….

- The overall ongoing march of online models, especially advertising, predicted to hit $55 billion…. The ongoing and much debated issue of clickfraud remains unsolved.

- The ongoing trend of tagging. Which for now I see to 2005 as links were to 1995 – hard to do, done mainly by geeks, but very important as a signal for future revs of search…

- Enterprise search starts to get interesting. Why? Innovation in UI and approach to structured data…

- Same for domain specific search, the pace of launches here is torrid. But….will data be open?

- And a ton of search improvements from the leader (who keeps building share), as well as progress on competitive ad networks and search features, from Ask, Yahoo, MSN, and others. Clearly, the PPC gap will close soon. And a major “Mine is bigger than yours” competition to boot.

So, that’s what I have after reviewing a year’s worth of posts. What did I miss?!

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  • http://colincrawford.typepad.com ccoc

    Perhaps more on the role or fad of the vertical engines, GlobalSpec, IT.com, Rollyo, Healthline, Verticalsearch, Scirus,Trulia, Mobissimo, FirstGov etc, etc

  • david

    you didn’t miss a thing.

    for a refresher course in google’s history i made this website: http://boredfun.googlepages.com/home

    maybe you’ll find it useful.

  • http://worcester.typepad.com/pc4media peter caputa

    You haven’t covered it much, and it isn’t apparent that it will change search delivery yet. However, I think the rise of structured data that is crawled and captured from lots of websites and assembled into a structure only at the index level- is a big trend. Eg Structured blogging, edgio, Busy Tonight, review aggretion. I think of it as the distribution of the database.

  • http://www.talkr.com Chris Brooks

    I find the purchase of dMarc to be one of the most interesting stories of the year. First because it indicates Google’s interest in applying the AdWords model to traditional offline media; and second because it positions google as the presumptive but unannounced leader in the podcast advertising market.

  • http://www.searchenginelowdown.com Garrett French

    Orkut and soccer… a drug free monetization for Orkut.
    Google maps + Nike and Sopranos.
    Google reserves the right to put ads on mashers’ maps. Will they ever share this revenue in an adsense model?

    I didn’t follow all your links so apologies in advance if I repeated anything.

  • Brandon Byers

    Funny you should mention your Wine story, since just today I discovered a place called “Semapedia” which allows you to affix a large bar-code image to an object, and using a camera phone, retrieve Wikipedia information about that object. See the example in this post. Not quite the same as scanning a UPC barcode, but it’s in that direction …

  • http://www.search-engine-war.co.uk Teddie

    You missed out the whole government funded search engine thing – Japan and France. It kind of got dissed by the the media, but as search becomes a utility and economies are much more dependent on search engines you’ll see lots more action in this area.

  • http://www.cdcsd.blogspot.com Asheesh Dewan

    I did not see any mention of googlebase / or googles paypal overtures as an ebay killer?

    Would it be worth to conjecture upon the hiring trends that they have been doing?

    Mashups. What they have spawned and the trend of mashups along with VC interest in them?

    Don’t get mad at me. You asked.

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com Joe Hunkins

    Super summary John. Perhaps, however, you have not played up the significance and growth velocity of the Myspace phenomenon, which I’d suggest is the best, and crappiest, website in history.

    Myspace proves that some of the 2.0 dialog is misguided, still emphasizing technology improvements over human considerations which lie at the heart of the “new” web and at the ugly but overwhelmingly successful heart of Myspace.

  • http://463.blogs.com Sean Garrett

    Agreed that the significance of MySpace was missed. Who needs Google when you can live in an online neighborhood with all your buddies, first-crushes and favorite bands?

    Also completely missed is the rocket blast that is YouTube and the way it’s changing the way people think about video and media consumption. I went to SXSW, and, of course, could only see about 35 of the 1,400 bands that played. But, three days after I got back from Austin, I could see about 100 other bands that I missed on YouTube. (Not the mention the controversies over copyright, etc)

  • http://www.sharpseo.com/blog Adam Sharp

    Re: Clickfraud – It may not be solved yet, but Google has gotten much closer in the last year. Smart pricing seems to be getting quite proficient at devaluing clicks that it doesn’t think are likely to convert.

    Lots of publishers on WMW, DigitalPoint, and other webmaster forums have complained that smart pricing is killing their adsense earnings. I think some of this smart pricing is triggered by clickfraud, and some happens because webmasters have become too good at increasing their CTR and CPM, using advanced ad/content blending and other tricks.

    This resulted in much higher costs to advertisers, for leads that may not convert. Smart pricing is getting much more effective based on what I’ve heard others say, and data from my own sites and ad campaigns.

  • http://colincrawford.typepad.com Colin Crawford

    I’d also suggest you make the afterword available as a pdf – test it on Google Books / Amazon – I’m sure those who purchased your original book would appreciate getting the update – even paying for it !

  • http://www.islco.com Omar Khan

    I would add to this list the rapid rise of video, a traditional media form that is forcing its way through the web and changing our expectations of the computer screen. The production of video is also going to be democratized in the process, but what are the implications for search? Video is still subject to text tagging for search, but we can expect much different search demands to evolve around moving imagery in the coming years. An opportunity for new and different search engines?