Remember the early days of the Web? Everyone was using an Internet service provider that promised unique content along with your dial-up connection. Most of those companies are gone now, though AOL is still plugging along — albeit with the rest of the Internet giggling behind its back.
But what if AOL was really just ahead of its time?
Over time we all migrated from these online gated-communities and started using search engines to help us find everything we needed. The Web got bigger and more complicated and soon it became impossible to get anything done without leaning on a search engine like Google or a service like SmartBrief to get you were you need to go.
People are always better at finding interesting content than machines. So when social networks came along, we started using them to find content and now Chris Dannen is arguing that they’re pushing search engines into obsolescence. Facebook and Twitter are just some of the sites Dannen dubs “content silos,” arguing that these hub sites will dominate the scene in 2010, while search engines will fall into decline.
I still think general interest social networks are too broad to replace a search engine. Facebook is great for finding nice-to-know content, but not so hot for when I need to know something. If social networks became more specialized, however, and I could go to one network for political information and another for music news, etc. — that could really put a hole in Google’s hull. But that also means businesses that spent the last five years figuring out how to game Google need to go back and decipher the mysteries of the content silo all over again.
Do search engines still matter? Are content silos just hype? Anybody out there still using AOL?
Image credit, spxChrome, via iStock