Friday, June 16, 2006 To Dominate Google [In The Future]?!

Just to get things out of the way here, you might be asking yourself "Self, who is this ask that the King of all Ryan's is talking about?" Ask is the search engine formerly known as Ask Jeeves, actually a quite popular search engine. They dropped Jeeves last February.

Now that thats out of the way, in an interview between the and Jim Lanzone, the boss over at the top search engine #4, Jim has stated a few flaws that exist between the top 3 search engines and why he sees that will be the prevailing search engine...After a long period of time that is.

More after the jump.

Jim actually has an overall theory on the subject, using the old physics formula for momentum. Anyone remember the formula from school with out me having to say it? To get this article done with sooner, it is mass times velocity. The true winner of the most momentum, of course, is Google with the distant runner up's being Yahoo, MSN and Ask.

Keeping with the momentum theme, as of last April, Google has a commanding mass of 43% of the users that use search engines. This value actually climbs up to 50% after including AOL, which uses Google's search technology called the PageRank algorithm. This algorithm, Jim thinks, will be the downfall of Google, since it just takes into account the amount of times a link is clicked on. Much as a link creeps up the pages and ranks in your Google search results, "the best academic papers tend to get the most citations in other research". More on that later. The first on Jim's list to critique, because of this algorithm, among other things as well. Google, by far, has the most mass, as stated above, but due to not having a very clear strategy, they seem to be just "dabbling aimlessly" around the Internet. Google doesn't know if they want to be the best search engine or the best over-the-Internet-office-software-provider.

Then comes Yahoo!. Do I need to use the double punctuation marks there? I'll skip it for the rest of this post and lose the "!". Yahoo, with a mass of 28%, has recently stated that they are not out of the search engine race to become the best of the best. They, in fact, just like any business, desire and thrive to become the best search engine. They were actually using Google's algorithm, and soon realized that this was a weakness, because thats where the money was. Yahoo has people working to refine their searching engine with the desire to combine "the best of people with the best of technology”. This just means that through the various products that yahoo has (search engine, instant messenger,...) they will be able to keep track of what everyone likes through either a ranking system or tagging system. Jim describes that as "taking a long walk for a short beer." I agree, who wants to keep tabs on all of the stuff that they like while surfing the net? I would think that, due to all of the security programs and spam programs out there, that people would want the complete opposite; online anonymity, where no one knows anything about you so they cannot keep a growing rap sheet on you or your ip address.

Next up is MSN, with a dwindling 13% of mass. MSN, or Microsoft, has identified Google as it's sole competition and is scrambling to extend it's clutches to grasp as much of the Internet as it possibly can. However, Microsoft tends to jump into the pool a bit late and needs to scramble to stay afloat. We see this as fact since Google has launched multiple programs that are Internet based that Microsoft is now attempting to copy, such as Google Maps Vs. Microsoft Local. Last winter, MSN actually started negotiations with AOL to attempt to gain more mass in it's Internet search field. Google, as we know, went a bit more aggressively towards acquisition of AOL and won it in the end. Microsoft has also hired formal company rivals in an attempt to gain more ground as well, such as Ray Ozzie, to attempt to gain a commanding lead in online activity.

And yet, in the eyes of Mr. Jim Lanzone, will prevail. So he hopes anyway. actually as the least bit of momentum, however if you break down that equation into mass and velocity, Ask has the most velocity. Last year started out with 6% market share (read: mass). But in just 4 short quarters, it has grown by 35%. This is the most growth when compared to Google's 17% while Yahoo and MSN have both lost shares. What is doing differently? Jim is very proud to talk about's search algorithm's. is calling it's algorithm "ExpertRank". This algorithm does use something similar to Google, where it takes into account the amount of traffic it has incoming to a link, but differs since it first groups, or “clusters”, pages and links by theme. This algorithm "finds the pages that are most popular among experts on a particular subject, a method that often returns better results than Google's. Ask also uses these thematic clusters to suggest the best ways to narrow or expand a search, a feature called “zoom” that is very popular."

Chris Sherman of SearchEngineWatch thinks that Ask is as good as Google for general web search—but better than Google for finding online maps and images. Ask, he thinks, is therefore starting to resemble Apple in the computer industry, which has a small but dedicated following of fans who consider the Macintosh operating system superior to the dominant Windows system by Microsoft (a comparison that is sure to make Messrs Brin and Page at Google cringe).

After reading various articles about, I was very pleased by the strides they have made and with the excitement that Jim Lanzone has. So I pledge to give a try for a month. Starting today I will no longer have FireFox's Google start up page as my home page. I will change it to and leave it that way for one month to give it a test. I liked the change from IE to Firefox, but it did take some time getting used to it, so i think a month on Ask will allow me to adjust. Wish me luck!

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