Every since Google rose to international prominence, it has been faced by a string of competitors (upstarts and established stalwarts) claiming to have made the ultimate search engine which would replace Google as the market leader in search engines.
There was Yahoo, there was Ask.com (or AskJeeves), there was the new and vastly improved Windows Live search, AltaVista and so on and so forth. The list is endless and so are the failures.
And once again, Google is faced with a challenge (or more accurately challenges on three different fronts) by various companies.
First there is WolframAlpha, a new-age question answering, highly accurate search engine that could tell you how long ago your birthday was to the second if you know at what time you were born.
It is promoted as a computational search engine and can work out pretty much anything you throw at it. Unlike Google or other conventional search engines it does not show you a selection of links that lead to other sites with information relevant to your search. Instead your search results in a pageful of data compiled based on your search and showing relevant information.
WolframAlpha is a highly innovative and ambitious project which the developers intend to continue to expand and improve.
Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly given that almost everything seems to be about social networking sites these days, the next challenge comes from Facebook. Well not Facebook as we know it, rather from their purchase of the recently launched (October 2007) FriendFeed. This website acts as an “aggregator” by compiling news and feeds from all of your social networking sites.
The list of sites that FriendFeed can cover is quite comprehensive and includes imaging sites like Flickr, bookmarking sites like Delicious, news sites like Digg and Reddit, status update sites like Twitter, music sites like Last.fm, video sites like Youtube and Dailymotion and can also support custom RSS/Atom feeds. What this essentially means is that no matter where you type your thoughts, what you are doing at the moment, what you are listening to, blogging, etc it will all end up in FriendsFeed.
Thus, unless you enjoy jumping around from one site to another, doubtless you will soon be a part of the vast majority who use FriendFeed. Where is the competition for Google you say? Well, as we have mentioned many a times, Google is now a diverse and varied company that provides various services including Orkut, a social networking site…
Last but not least, the old nemesis raises its head once again, yes you guessed it, Microsoft. Microsoft‘s latest venture into the search engine industry is Bing, a search engine so attuned to user needs that it has already captured a fair share of the market. What’s more, in a deal recently concluded, Microsoft and Yahoo have agreed to become partners whereby Yahoo search will be powered by Bing even though it will continue to use its own interface cassino and Live Search is in the process of being replaced.
We could describe to you the many amazing and highly useful features of Bing, however we do feel that you should try it out yourself. While it is not sufficiently different from any conventional search engine to be described as revolutionary, it does present features that are very useful and highly user friendly.
On the other hand, Google has also started introducing new features into its search engine and improving old ones so this might come to nothing.