Search engines: The race for the big money

Tom DiFrancesca

Lots of breaking news concerning search engines this past week.
Although Google.com has remained one of the more popular and profitable (through advertising sales) search engine services on the Web — for some time now, that may all be changing soon.
For a while there, I watched as some of the major Internet portals such as Yahoo.com, dropped their own Internet search services and began partnering with Google.com — it made sense to me. Why spend lots and lots of money on a technology that is constantly changing if you don’t have to?
Yahoo then reversed itself a few months down the road and dropped Google like a hot potato. Now, it’s got its own search engine again and it’s claiming that some day that engine will be as good or better than Google’s.
In the past week both Amazon.com and Microsoft announced that they (individually) are in the process of developing new Web search technologies, and that they each intend to become king of the Internet search engine hill.
I’ve got a theory; I’m suspecting that Yahoo, Microsoft, and Amazon all smell big money in the search engine service field. I predicted a few years ago and still believe that some day utilizing a search engine will not be free. Think about it, if a search engine like Google, which gets a couple of million “hits” a day, charged just a few pennies per search, that service would make a killing.
I believe my prediction is getting closer and closer to fruition. I’ve posted some links to the search engine news stories in my Blog (Web log). Just jump over to
trackertom.blogspot.com
and check them out.
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Well, Miss Susie Q. and I are taking to the open road once again. By the time you read this column, we will be in Red River. We thought we would drive up and check out the fall foliage. Utilizing the Internet (of course), I hopped over to
www.redrivernewmex.com/
which is the homepage for the Red River Chamber of Commerce, and then checked out their “Lodging” directory. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to secure us a very nice room at the Lazy Miner Lodge
www.lazyminer.com
for an extremely good price. You will find the rates listed for the lodge on their Web site.
I hope it’s not too pretty up there though — we just might not come back. At least, not right away.
Unfortunately, I could not locate any active Web cameras that have been installed in the Red River area. So, if you want to check the area out you’ll have to just go see it for yourself.
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Speaking of cameras wired to the Internet; a research team has been assembled at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh to determine how the proliferation of “webcams” has affected our personal privacy. I can see their point. I mean sure it’s fun to watch folks walking in Times Square in Manhattan, but what if those people don’t want their image broadcast throughout Cyberspace? You can learn more about the project by going to

http://privacy.cs.cmu.edu/dataprivacy/projects/camwatch/

and, you can check out their ever-growing directory of online cameras. What is now a very novel and fun idea (webcams) could someday turn around and bite us in the hindquarters.
Now, that’s something to think about.

Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance columnist and a resident of Clovis.