Monday, December 18, 2006

Google reduces wiggle room

Google takes another step to assert the continued dominance of their search engine. After two and a half years they have been granted a patent for the design of their search page. As a design patent it limits the ability of competitors to mimic the look and feel of the search results page. For more background check out CNet news. The importance of this patent should not be understated. In order to compete with Google competitors must not only build a powerful search engine infrastructure but they must also design a user interface that does not mimic the Google search results page. Why is this an issue? It is a serious issue because search engines present very similar interfaces because we, as users, expect to find certain elements in a familiar place on the page. Unfamiliar interfaces create a negative reaction from consumers. So there you have it, a seemingly innocuous patent has the potential to reduce competition in the search engine market. Any Web 2.0 startups looking to re-invent search have to find a better search interface that users can easily grasp.

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