Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.
This week at DEMOfall I saw two vertical search applications that made me think that this area is getting mature and ready for prime time. Pluggd and Retrevo launched technologies that are not only good at finding podcasts and consumer electronics (respectively) - these sites categorize and present information in fundamentally new, different and intelligent ways. They do it so well that generic search just can not compete.
In this article we look at the rise of vertical search and how it may end up threatening Google. We profile some of the more innovative and interesting vertical search engines - selected primarily based on how they organize the search results and allow the user to navigate through information. Try them out if you have not done so yet and let us know what you think... is vertical search ready for prime time?
Tradeoffs between generic and vertical search
There are always tradeoffs between generic and specialized applications, particularly in the area of information processing. The generic applications cover a wider spectrum, but specialized applications excel in their niche - because they have an intimate understanding of the semantics of information in their topics.
In the end, there will always be place for generic search - because it may not be economical to have a vertical search engine for every vertical. However, in major verticals, specialized search engines might take a big bite out of the generic search engines' market share - including Google's advertising pie.