Fagan Finder > Searching > Predictions for 2002

Intead of looking backwards on 2001, I decided to take a risk and look forward to 2002. Here are some of my predictions, written in the first week of 2002. Some of them have Updates which gives current information relating to the prediction.
See also 2003 Predictions.

Google will go public. They will also provide Overture with some real competition with their AdWords program. They will release a news search engine and enable natural language searching. They will incorporate popularity from clicks and/or face clicks from their toolbar into their ranking algorithm. They will add many more catalogs including online ones, and make Google Catalogs revenue-generating. They will dive deeper into the invisible web, and by the end of 2002 will still be the most popular pure search engine in the world. See Google.
Update Google has released a news search engine, in March of 2002. Google's AdWords program is now even more in competition with Overture because it is now run on a pay-per-click basis. Instead of natural language searching, they created Google Answers (in April) where people can ask questions of researchers for a fee. Google has added many new catalogs to Google Catalogs, however not online ones and it is not yet revenue generation. Google has not yet gone public (see my 2003 predictions). As far as I know, Google has not incorporated clicks or "face clicks" into their ranking algorithm.

AltaVista will either disappear, or become a shell for another search engine, probably Overture. See AltaVista and Search Tool Graveyard.
Update AltaVista is desperately trying to make a comeback. They have removed the last of their portal features. They improved their news search and added images to it. They slimmed down their front page, introduced tabs, made other small changes, and added AltaVista Prisma, a new tool onto their web search.

AllTheWeb will venture into the invisible web just as Google has. They will have a 2 billion + index which for at least a few months will be more web pages than Google, although this will be disputed because of the sites which Google not indexed but which may still show up in search results. See AllTheWeb.
Update AllTheWeb has ventured into the invisible web by indexing PDF (Adobe Acrobat), SWF (Flash), and DOC (Microsoft Word) files. No other major search engine indexes Flash content. AllTheWeb's indexed reached 2.1 billion in June, and for a short while had more pages than Google, which is now ahead again. AllTheWeb also made their website "skinnable" using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and had a contest to design skins. In December they improved their algorithm, which included using proximity of search terms, and most people agree that it has been a big improvement.

About's "3.0" change (less info, more selling) will make them less popular, but more profitable.
Update Some of About.com's guides are suing About's owner, Primedia, because they are not treated as Primedia employees and therefore not getting paid what they think they should be.

Weblogs will become much more popular (more read and more written), and so will related sites like Daypop, Blogdex, NewsIsFree, and others. See Weblogs.
Update This prediction has been more than accurate. Weblogs have exploded in popularity. Some estimate that there are about a million blogs, and many new ones are created every day. Many have called 2002 the "year of the blog." New tools such as Popdex and Waypath appeared. Blog is now a contender to enter the Oxford English Dictionary. Bloggers are considered largely responsible for a real-world event, causing the resignation of US Senator Trent Lott.

Teoma and WiseNut
I won't make a prediction about these two search engines. If they update their databases and continue to do so at least once a month, then I think that they will become much more popular, although Teoma (which I think has the some of the best technology around) will also need to have a larger index. WiseNut may become more successful in Asia than elsewhere. Ask Jeeves, which owns Teoma, will finally do something with this acquisition, at the very least advertise for it.
Update-Teoma In the beginning of January, Ask Jeeves integrated Teoma results (only the main results, not the experts' links or topic clusters) into Ask Jeeves search results. Many more users used these results than previously, when the results were from Direct Hit. As of April, the Direct Hit public search engine is closed, the website redirects to Teoma. This occured at the same date that Teoma relaunched. Teoma and Ask Jeeves now both have Internet Explorer toolbars available for download.
Update-WiseNut WiseNut was bought by LookSmart in March. In September, their database was updated for the first time of the year. It is still not very popular.

I'm not sure about Quigo. If they get a full version up, then they may do well. Otherwise, they'll never get anywhere.
Update In January, Quigo opened in beta. Even with their limited dataset, We find this search to be very impressive. Unfortunately, few other web searches have found out about Quigo.

The Obvious
More websites will charge for services.
Update This continues to happen; see The Start of Fee.

This page was last updated on January 1, 2003. Submit changes here.
No predictions of mine have been added or modified since I first wrote them.

Inside Fagan Finder
Searching Information
2003 Predictions
2002 Predictions - ResearchBuzz