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Social Media Portal Landscape- Search


A search engine is a resource that helps users navigate the internet and find the information they are looking for, without which it would be nigh on impossible.  Traditional search engines such as Ask, Google, MSN and Yahoo! are the doorway to the internet, and thusly the gateway to the infinite number of social networks, blogs, user generated content (UGC) sites and similar.


Before search engines existed, there was a manually edited list of all webservers, which was managed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (often referred to as the father of the Internet).  The three roles of a search engine is to crawl, index and search, and the first to do this with the world wide web was JumpStation, which launched in December 1993.  The first search engine to allow users to search for any word on a webpage was WebCrawler, which launched in 1994, and soon became the most widely known service.  Shortly following WebCrawler came Lycos, Excite, Infoseek and AltaVista. 

A milestone in the growth of search engines came from web browser Netscape in 1996, who offered search engines to the opportunity to be their featured search engine for a price.  It was a widely popular initiative amongst the engines, and Netscape struck five agreements for $5 million USD per year with Yahoo!, Magellan, Lycos, Infoseek and Excite.


Enter Google in 2000 that has subsequently contributed to the changed world we now live in.  With its PageRank technology, Google gained global popularity for delivering better search results and its clean search only interface was embraced by users.  Microsoft launched MSN Search in 1998 using the search technology of engines such as Inktomi and Looksmart.  It wasn’t until 2004 that the company developed its own search technology, which rebranded as Bing in June 2009.  In 2000, Yahoo! was using the search technology of Inktomi which it later acquired along with Overture (which owned search engines AlltheWeb and AltaVista).  In 2003, Yahoo! began providing results from Google’s search engine until it launched its own engine in 2004.

The role of search in social networking is often understated and overlooked; it does however have an important role to play and is developing ‘socially’ in its own right.  In additional to allowing users to discover new web 2.0 services of internet, search is evolving and becoming a ‘social search’ experience.  Social search is a where the returned search results are ranked in order of the accuracy and usefulness as determined by other members of a/the community; bypassing or providing an alternative route to the more traditional algorithms unique to each search engine.


Social bookmarking, through popular sites such as Digg, and Reddit are a form of social search and also of online communities (SMP Landscape lists social bookmarking services as communities).

In November 2008, Google launched a ‘search wiki’ which allows users to personalise their search experience by promoting and demoting results that they feel are most and least useful.  This service is now defaulted on the standard search interface. In the first half of 2009, a new type of search engine launched to widespread chatter.  Wolfram Alpha, which bills itself as a computational knowledge engine, aims to collect and present objective data in a digestible format.   Not long after that (Jun 2009) Bing arrived, Microsoft Corporation new search, referred to by the software and technology company as a decision engine.

Also not mentioned above are specific search engines for content types, such as blog search engines like Technorati and Bloglines and search services for multimedia content such as blinkx and Picsearch.  With the vast number of blogs, videos and other rich media content available online engines such as the above prove to be invaluable for the user looking to discover new content.

The benefits of adding your search technology to SMP

  • Better communicate your service to your audience
  • Reach advertisers that are looking to connect with your users
  • Connect with potential stakeholders, media and researchers raising your visibility
  • Update your stakeholders and target audiences with case studies, events, press releases and/or whitepapers about your software or technology
  • Differentiate your approach, products, service and/or technology from your competitors
  • Submit news scoops about your resource through SMP to be considered for social media news
  • List other assets of what your resource possesses that relate to the social media Landscape and demonstrate the other relationships that it has
  • Share your expertise through opinion and thought leadership articles published on the SMP site reaching your audiences

Do you help people find content through search?

Become part of the SMP Landscape by adding your search platform