Danny Sullivan is generally acknowledged as THE expert on the search industry (www.searchengineland.com). Danny first got his start coving search all the way back in 1996, and for almost twenty years, he has covered search technology as it has evolved from the likes of Excite and Yahoo into the dominance of Google and the emergence of social and mobile as the new frontier. Danny gives us a bit of his own background before we wade into the 90s search scene. We spend a lot of time discussing how and why Google grew to dominance and toward the end, Danny tells us where search technology might be going in the future.
One aspect which I think is missing from the interview is the fact, that Google’s world domination today is far less complete that an American or European view might lead us to think. Before Google became the seemingly all-overpowering force which it is today in those two continents, there were actually some quite usable and advanced non-US based search engines which held substantial market shares in their countries, such as, e.g. a search engine called “Fireball” in Germany (which btw also ran the first decent news search service I am aware of (called “Paperball”).
Now, in Germany just as in the rest of Europe, these are stories of the past, but interestingly, in Russia, Google has remained second after the homegrown search engine Yandex, also GMail has never managed to draw equal with with Yandex mail and Mail.ru. Also, in one of the world’s largest emerging markets, China, Google remains second to Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine and as far as I am aware, this doesn’t seem to be changing. So if ever a serious contender is going to cause Google a real headache, it might actually not be one of their American rivals but one of the big players from different parts of the world, as unlikely as this might seem right now.