Delft, October 2007
State of development 3
Different stakeholders involved 5
Consumers (searchers) 5
Search engines 5
On-line alternatives 6
Other alternatives 7
Government & NGO’s 7
Issues concerning the stakeholders 8
Social effects 9
Dynamics in development 10
Technological progress 10
Technological trajectories 10
Supporting technologies 11
Since the commercial introduction of the internet, the number of people using internet worldwide has grown approximately exponential, as depicted in figure 1. This gives chances to search engines. They are developing fast and make large investments in research to beat their competitors [1, 2]. Nowadays, the market is divided by a few large search engine companies and one of them, Google, is conquering the market rapidly .
The power obtained by the large search engines has its consequences. For instance, how neutral are the results the search engines give? And what can they do with the large amount of data they get from searchers? Do they influence social behavior? What do the developments of the search engine market mean for traditional book stores?
These are questions for governments to consider carefully deciding whether to intervene or not. Moreover, in this rapid changing market it’s important to know how to survive the competition, as a search engine company as well as another competitor offering substitutable products.
In this Socio Technical Map about search engines these questions will be investigated. The state of development of search engines is discussed first. Afterwards, the different stakeholders with their capabilities and views are treated. At last, this is followed by an analysis of the dynamics in the development.
Figure 1: Internet activity worldwide (host count), source: G. Livraghi...