Are All of Our Eggs in Google’s Basket?

Cnet looks at the changing nature of trust and information online in an article titled, “Most reliable search tool could be your librarian.”

“Most people don’t bother to look at results past the first page or spend much time evaluating the source of the material, experts say.”

“There’s a problem with information illiteracy among people. People find information online and don’t question whether it’s valid or not,” said Chris Sherman, executive editor of industry blog site SearchEngineWatch.com. “I think that’s where librarians are extremely important. They are trained to evaluate the quality of the information.”

There is a new crop of vertical search engines who are offering an alternative to Google, and a chance at greater relevance and trust:

“There are always tradeoffs between generic and specialized applications, particularly in the area of information processing. The generic applications cover a wider spectrum, but specialized applications excel in their niche – because they have an intimate understanding of the semantics of information in their topics.”

The article goes on to profile some vertical search engines by category, including Technorati, Google blog search, podcast searchers Pluggd and Odeo, Retrevo a search engine for electronics, and many others.

Many of these sites are compelling, and they speak to market-specific information needs, as well as a very serious risk of the world putting all of their eggs in one basket: Google.