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December 06, 2005

Is MSN Search Building a Better Mouse Trap?

It is an old cliché, build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.  Looking back at the history of the search industry there is no better proof of this then the success of the internet search giant Google but are they now being beaten at their own game?  Possibly, let’s look at how Google got to where they are, what has happened since they became the “big dog” and what their most recent algorithm changes mean for web users and Google’s competitors. 
First let’s start with why Google became “the search engine”.  In the beginning of search engines there were a ton of players some you may remember and some you may not.  Some survived and others died off and many of the small fish were eaten up (bought out) by their brothers as the big three and came to control the vast majority of the search market.  Google came out of this with the biggest chunk by far of that majority, it didn’t hurt that for a while they were actually providing the results of their competitors (it was not that long ago that Yahoo was simply a mirror of Google’s results) but there was something more at the core of their success. 
Keep in mind that as this war was raging the internet was really still quite young and there were a lot less sites online even say 3 years ago then there are today.  Take that back 7-8 years when the net was really starting to grow and Google first launched in 1998.  At that time people where not yet doing a ton of “buying” online they were more in the information gathering world.  You really have to think about what it was like just a short time back.  People were quickly moving to looking up any question, concept or piece of information online and for a huge number of people it was a brand new experience.  Further when you started trying to find sites about monarch butterflies or classic muscle cars or fine cigars there were actually a lot less sites out there about what ever subject it may have been that you were looking to learn about.  

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