Andy Atkins-Kruger

'We're all helping to create the Google monster,' Exalead CEO, SES Paris

The Google monster came under concerted attack from Francois Bourdoncle, CEO and founder of France-based search engine Exalead in the opening keynote of Search Engine Strategies Paris. The press in particular should be worried about becoming sub-contractors of Google, he said. Whilst at present Google News brings plenty of traffic to sites under the brand names of the press outlets, this would change to Google’s brand in the future. Portals – by which Mr. Bourdoucle is referring to all the major search engines – are the “Walmart of the digital world,” he added.

In a considered talk which revolved around the concept that search is not that effective and there is plenty of room for other search engines despite Google’s dominance, Mr. Bourdoncle explained that an IFOP Omnibus study had shown that 75% of searchers actually have problems finding ‘stuff’. 22% think there are too many results and 45% never bother to look at the second page.

Much of search, he explained, now revolved around Yellow Pages-style search where the user knows that a particular keyword produces the set of results they are looking for – even though apparently it is a free text search – the reality is now very different.

The 30 ‘verticals’ which Google now has cannot be presented in the results. Searcher intent is problematic because searchers don’t always know what they want. This was the reason Exalead is focusing on ‘search by serendipity’ whereby the user has the option to ‘zoom out’ as well as ‘zoom in’ and to discover things they didn’t even know they were looking for.

He also criticised the new sitemaps collaboration announced by Google, Yahoo and MSN at Pubcon in Las Vegas. He said, “The sitemaps specification is not nice and open and it is not nice and closed”. He believes the initiative aims to close the door to new entrants to the market place.

Exalead aims to profit from the Quaero research initiative by bringing new technologies to the search engine which, he revealed, now has a new infrastructure in place which it has taken 8 years to build. “We have moved extremely slowly but now we’re going to move extremely quickly” he stressed. Exalead, which has offices in France, Spain, Italy and Germany is to be re-launched under a new consumer-facing brand soon.

Andy Atkins-Kruger
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world, writes for the Multinational Search column of SearchEngineLand.com and is the Managing Editor of the Multilingual Search blog.

7 Responses to 'We're all helping to create the Google monster,' Exalead CEO, SES Paris

  1. Pingback: stereophone » About Exalead

  2. Pingback: Search Engine Ranking Guides » Blog Archive » 8 ways to build a really bad web site for Search Engines

  3. Castor says:

    FBourdoncle is all big mouth. He’s just less than 0.5% of the french search market, and never published any data related to traffic increase since he changed its design recently.

  4. Pingback: Exalead ускорится - SEO блог - инструменты вебмастера

  5. Pingback: Exalead CEO Critical of Google at SES Paris » Online Marketing Blog

  6. One could argue that trying to sell one’s company to the ‘Monster’ may well be a rational approach to deal with its domination. That doesn’t then change the validity or not of his general thrust.

  7. B. Smith says:

    It seems he failed to mention that this all comes after a failed attempt by he and others at Exalead to sell their company to Google. Sources close to the matter said that Google declined to accept an unsolicited offer from Exalead.

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