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October 07, 2004

Web 2.0 Conference Search Panel -- Why Everyone Agrees

By Charlene Li

I attended the Web 2.0 Conference yesterday at the Hotel Nikko -- great event that showed a strong interest in future Web developments. But while there was tremendous buzz from Tuesday's sessions with Jeff Bezos and Mark Cuban, it started fizzling when the Search Guys took the stage. Present were eBay, Amazon's A9, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask Jeeves (the obvious missing player being Google).

The audience was primed for fireworks, but the panelists were all intoning the same points -- that the future of search as a platform would come from users providing more information to provide a personalized experiences. There's nothing flashy about this -- but it is hard work that will take time for consumers to experience and adopt.

I wrote a research brief "Yahoo! Unveils Personalized Search, Search + Personalization = MyMedia" on the coupling of personalized search with RSS feeds which I believe will lead to a new way for consumers to look at information. Along with A9.com and Ask Jeeve's MyJeeves service, Yahoo! will work hard to use personalization to lock in search loyalty. In the process, consumers will win - big time.

There's nothing much to argue about this -- hence the high level of agreement and congeniality on the panel. Future battlegrounds are also highly predictable -- they will all line up to duke it out for desktop search, email, and messaging platforms.

But I don't think the war will be won on features and functionality. Instead, the victor will be the company that is more comfortable with opening up their index and data from personalized profiles. By turning these assets into platforms for other companies to build on, they will solidify their role as central to people and also, to businesses.


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Charlene Li of Forrester has a new Blog. I met Charlene briefly at Web 2.0. She has comments on the search panel - specifically noting the large agreement between the panelists on what the future direction of search is from a features and functiona... [Read More]

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