This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Is Google Ready for the Next Best Search Engine Challenge?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Competition in the search engine space is heating up.

By linking with Yelp (YELP - Get Report), Yahoo (YHOO - Get Report) thinks it can do better local searches than Google (GOOG).

Baidu (BIDU - Get Report), the Chinese search engine, now wants to compete more directly in developing markets like Brazil, Thailand and Egypt. 

There's also a lot more interest today in searches of the "semantic web," with natural language queries, such as Google's new Hummingbird algorithm. The idea is to make searching for something online as natural as asking the question, and spoken interfaces like Apple's (AAPL) Siri make that kind of search more common.

But the search engine story the media is talking about is the Defense Advanced Research Project Administration's (DARPA) Memex project, which aims to index and search The Onioni Router, or .tor, the anonymous Web service originally created by the U.S. Naval Research Department.

As an indication of its determination to complete the project the agency, which funded development of what became the Internet in the 1970s, wrote in its release that its first aim is to fight human trafficking, something everyone is against.

DARPA published a "broad area announcement" for Memex and plans to look at proposals on next Tuesday.

The move is coming just as mainline search engines, including Google, work to make the Web more private, through the use of encryption.

If you notice https:// instead of http:// at the top of a web page, this shows the page is encrypted -- even Google Gmail is now https:// One reason for the acceleration are the privacy concerns caused by revelations of former NSA researcher Edward Snowden.

Efforts toward improved anonymity are even being productized, as with the Blackphone due to be released next month by a Spanish phone maker and a company called Silent Circle, launched by the creator of PGP encryption.

DARPA will argue that its effort to search the "deep" web is not an effort to destroy anonymity, but merely an effort to compete with what criminals are already doing.

The "deep," or unindexed Web, is as much as 500 times bigger than the visible Web you search using Google. The deep Web includes pages sites don't want searched, shown in their robots.txt file at their sites' main page, but it also includes pages created with The Onion Router pages that are meant to be private or protect anonymity.

DARPA is saying not only that it wants to search tor pages, and break encryption routinely, but that it wants to offer this capability for "military, law enforcement and intelligence investigations" -- in short, all types of police agencies.

DARPA says Memex would apply to "any public domain content," but adds it is not interested in "deanonymizing or attributing identity to servers or IP addresses, or accessing information not intended to be publicly available." Trouble is it's hard to conceive of a system that can fight human trafficking effectively without unmasking identity.

While it's possible that Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft (MSFT) might bid to lead this contract, it's actually more likely an experienced government contractor like Computer Sciences (CSC) could win the bid, with other companies instructed to cooperate with it.

Experienced traders seem to be all over such a trade. Computer Sciences' shares, which traded in the low-$20s twice in 2012, have recently broken out to new highs, opening today at $61.45, above the 2007 high of $61.38.

At the time of publication the author owned shares of YHOO and GOOG.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
BIDU $207.87 0.47%
GOOG $524.05 -1.83%
YELP $48.30 -2.17%
YHOO $44.45 -2.91%
AAPL $124.75 -1.13%

Markets

DOW 17,826.30 -279.47 -1.54%
S&P 500 2,081.18 -23.81 -1.13%
NASDAQ 4,931.8150 -75.9760 -1.52%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs