At the San Francisco Altsearchengines.com meeting last April, the general opinion was that without those alternative engines, there would be little innovation in search. No new frontiers would be explored. Those search start-ups come with new algorithms, smart crowd source approaches, and different UI’s. But in the end, aren’t these engines just inspiration for the big guys who can copy the improved ways of searching withing a few months?

If you look at the new Ask.com, you’d say this is true. Although some say it looks like Mahalo, you can also state the engine has adopted several typical alt search engines features like:

  • Clustering of results: if you search for Obama, you’ll get a short description, picture, and links to the Official Site, films, music, Wikipedia, and the senatorial site.
  • Related Searches. In the case of Obama his running mate, wife, and main rival.
  • A collection of thumbnails with Obama’s face

barack obama askcom web search Ask.com first giant to copy alt search engines
My guess is that this will mark the beginning of a copy trend. Every successful alt search engine will see its main USP being adopted by the major search engines.