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Searching for the next Google

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Just like in real life, things on the Web may not be as permanent as they seem.

Last week I enjoyed a few clicks down memory lane, looking through Technologizer's list of the top-10 Web properties from April, 1999. Who remembers Lycos? Or AltaVista? Excite? Xoom? Microso– ... oh wait. Even the biggest, traffic-hogging megasites that seem like they're the be-all, end-all of Web presence can fall out of favor and be sold to Time Warner die off.

Today's top dog, with 151 million unique visitors a month, is Google. Where were they in 1999? A small start-up. It was nowhere near the top. Which got me thinking – Google is such a large part of so many people's everyday Web life; what's the next Google?

Now, of course, if I had that answer, I'd be out buying islands or something. But as we've known for a long time, and as fellow Horizons blogger Matt Shaer highlights today, Google's algorithm has its drawbacks.

Google is such a giant company these days, with their fingers in every corner of the Web. But its bread and butter – search – has a fearsome new challenger: Wolfram Alpha.

Now, I know there've been a lot of articles touting Cuil, Blekko, or any of a host of other disgusting-sounding start-ups as "the one to topple Google search." It's a little cutesy sounding, but Alpha isn't about search – it's about answers.

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