Google, Microsoft and Yahoo get competition from smaller search firms

Chances are you've been hearing more than the usual news this week about Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. But a lot of other search technology is also going strong right now, all of it vying for more than fifteen minutes of fame.

Google's earnings were lower than expected this past quarter, yet Microsoft is now trying to play catch up by acquiring Yahoo. But with these three search giants drawing so much attention this week, it shouldn't be ignored that search technology from a variety of smaller specialists is also in use right now among real customers.

In fact, during one of the sessions at this week's Web 2.0 conference in New York City, panelists pinpointed which products are being used for searching the Web across message board postings, the blogosphere, and over-50-year-olds, for instance -- as well as for presenting ads and content on their own Web sites, and for analyzing the effectiveness of search engine-based ad campaigns.

Kevin Kelly of Edelman Digital, a new division of a well known public relations agency, told the crowd that he's now using Technorati for blogosphere searches and BoardReader for searching message board postings.

Why? Some of Edelman's corporate customers -- pharmaceutical firms, in particular -- want to catch on as fast as possible to any false reports about their companies and products that might be posted on blogs and Internet forums.

Kelly also cited search engines targeted at social networks and other specialized Web content. For instance, a search engine called Eons is aimed at searches around content geared to older adults.

Meanwhile, the Fox publishing empire is now using search technology from Collarity on its own Web sites.

According to Collarity CEO Levy Cohen, another speaker, his own company's software constitutes the only search engine in existence that uses "ranked relevancy" technology across both advertising and other Web content.

Through Collarity's approach, specific ads and articles are suggested to visitors based on whatever links they've clicked on at the site before, Cohen said.

Also at Web 2.0, David Kidder made no bones of the fact that his company, Clickable, plans to compete against the ad campaign management and analysis tools that Google currently offers to customers paying for search engine links.

The well financed start-up -- which was recently named AlwaysOn's OnMedia Newcomer of the year -- is now readying rival software with a "bright, Apple-like" front end, according to the Clickable co-founder.

At the close of the presentation, Kidder told BetaNews that, over the year ahead, Clickable will use its software's API to connect to AdBrite and a number of other emerging ad networks.

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