Yahoo just dumped Google for its own search engine. But other competitors may prove a more serious threat:
Teoma relies on the rankings of experts to a greater extent.
Mooter relies more heavily on which links get clicked, and uses that information to produce personalized rankings for each individual user.
Microsoft is working on integrating search into every Windows mode, and also on perfecting the direct question and answer approach:
Take Microsoft Research’s AskMSR program, which Brill and his colleagues have been testing on Microsoft’s internal network for more than a year. At its core is a simple search box where users can enter questions such as “Who killed Abraham Lincoln?” and, instead of getting back a list of sites that may have the information they seek, receive a plain answer: “John Wilkes Booth.” The software relies not on any advanced artificial-intelligence algorithm but rather on two surprisingly simple tricks. First, it uses language rules learned from a large database of sample sentences to rewrite the search phrase so that it resembles possible answers: for example, “___ killed Abraham Lincoln” or “Abraham Lincoln was killed by ___.” Those text strings are then used as the queries in a sequence of standard keyword-based Web searches. If the searches produce an exact match, the program is done, and it presents that answer to the user.