In the tech world, the year is finishing much like
2006, with Google still dominating the search landscape despite increased competition from heavyweight players like Yahoo and Microsoft and innovative startups like Powerset and Hakia.
Competitors would have had a much better chance if the search giant instead stood still during the year (as if that was going to happen).
In May Google announced what it said were “the critical first steps” to giving users universal
search capability. The idea is to enhance basic search functionality so that it’s sophisticated enough to draw on all the different media types and information sources and present individual users with the best results for all of them. The result was a horizontal bar of navigation links for Web, Images, Video and results from Books.
Google said it can now significantly enhance results where it has rights to copyrighted or access to public domain content. Video includes results form its own Google Video and YouTube properties. Book results tap what Google vice president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer said is one of the company’s “most under appreciated assets.” Google has a database of over a million book titles available for viewing.
In 2007 Google also made public a Web site where users can try out search tools still in development at Google
Experimental. One example gives search results in either a timeline or maps formats.
The iGoogle home page
One simple example, if your registered address is in Southern California and you type in a query for surfing equipment, the top results will be local to the zip code you registered. Google said it’s looking iGoogle to a much deeper level of personalization. For example, if you typed in a query for Broadway shows, it would know your preferences (comedy, tragedy, etc.) and come back with top results best suited to those interests. “That’s what we’re shooting for,” said Mayer. “A search engine that understands ‘me’.”