BusinessWeek predicts the specialization of search, likening Google and Yahoo! to NBC and ABC, and the new, highly specialized engines to smaller networks like The History Channel and Noggin.
According to their interview with VC Ron Conway, "Search is in its infancy today ... It's at 10% of its potential, maybe."
Beyond more vertical search engines, BW sees a change in search as we know it:
While Google and other giants seem wedded to the current paradigm -- type words into a rectangular box, and get a list of 10 blue links -- startups are throwing caution to the wind. Without existing users to alienate, they can afford to rethink everything from the search interface to the formulas used to deliver info.
The result is likely to be a move away from a single ubiquitous search box, away from the reflexive hop to Google to find info on the Net. Instead, people may use several different search engines, each tailored to a specific task. One might specialize in blog postings, another in video clips, and a third in general information.
The article also predicts upgrades in algorithms and suggests that we "look for Google and its competitors to snap up many promising startups" in vertical search.
It's an eye-opening read (even if you already saw specialized search on the horizon). Check it out.