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SMX China – State of Global Search

Alex Christie

18 April 2008

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So SMX Xiamen is underway, with Chris Sherman kicking it off with a global view on search before we get into the China sessions.  He spoke about Google accounting for 2/3rds of world wide searches, with Yahoo behind Google in the global searches followed by Baidu.  This is interesting as Baidu is currently pretty limited in what countries it is available in.

He outlined the different ‘ages of search’.

Search 1.0 being search engines like Lycos, which were basically matching keywords to search terms available on websites. No focus on what else was going on.

Search 2.0 came about with Google putting the focus on other sites linking in and using those links for votes on relevance.

Search 3.0, This is where US is now, and to some extent parts of Europe.  It is about blended results.  Google becoming powerful enough to search multiple databases (normal web, video, images, news etc) and display these results together in some form of priority.  Other search engines are not there yet but this could be because of the required investment in technology to achieve it.  He also showed something I havent seen before – the ability to play videos straight from the Google search results in a popup kind of window.  Looking forward to trying that out.

Search 4.0 is about Social Search and Personalised Results.  This will be the next big thing – though search engines need to get around the privacy issues that have caused the EU to put limits on their data retention periods.  As per Neils earlier post on the topic, we are all for personal search if it means the results are more targeted.  Chris predicted that in 10 years time, it will be a case of everyone searching will get different results tailored to themselves.

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