If you’re like us, it gets a little old reading and writing about the same thing over and over again. How many times have we read some variation of "Google is up" in the past few years? We decided that it was high time we took a little break from that broken record and dug a little deeper. There’s a whole world of search out there beyond Google, Yahoo!, Live, and Ask. It’s high time they got a little attention too. Of course that "world of search" is made up of a few thousand search engines ranging from the very specific, like Fish.com, to the highly technical, like Krugle. In order to make this a little more manageable for analysis we decided to take a highly scientific approach to selecting engines for analysis (read as: chose a few out of a hat).
The first group of engines we looked at are what we’re calling "Second Tier" engines. These are the ones that despite not holding 50%+ market share are, in the grand scheme of the web, "doing just fine, thank you very much."
The clear leader of this pack is actually one of the Granddaddys of web search. It’s good to see old Altavista still pulling down a respectable 8.5 million sessions per month. A lot of veterans in the search world tend to talk about Altavista in the past tense – I wonder if they talk about their grandmother the same way after she decides to move into the retirement community. Little do they know that Grandma moved into that community for the free Wifi that would allow her to run her online gambling operation expense free "¦ but I digress.
What about some those new search engines? I know some of you are thinking, why in the world would someone start a new search engine these days? Believe or not there’s a ton of them out there. Most are pretty specialized but there’s still a bunch out there are just trying to give people a better way to find stuff on the web.
One of the fastest growing recent start-up engines in the web search space is Snap. Snap has been making a lot of headway recently. In March, Snap posted nearly 12 million search sessions. Do you remember those word problems in grade school? You know "¦ "Bill is traveling north on a train bound for Boston at 45 mph. Suzie is driving her car north to Boston at 70 mph. Bill left New York City at 6:00 AM and Suzie left at 8:00 AM. Where will Suzie catch Bill on their northbound journey?" Well how about this one? How long will it take Snap to surpass Google volumes at the current monthly growth rate given Google posted roughly 1.1 billion sessions? Give up? "¦ 3 years "¦ Of course that assumes that Google will stand still for that long.
Another interesting new engine is ChaCha a "people powered" web search engine that has grown in popularity over the past year. I find ChaCha pretty amusing. In general, the "assistants" are pretty helpful, emotionless, librarian types, but every once in a while you get one with a little fire in the belly. They’re the ones you can have some real fun with.