The early days of web search were essentially about observation. The web search engine observed the web (documents, links and user behaviours) and then delivered results based on those observations.
In recent years we have started to see more of a position of participation in web search engines. Examples of participation include:
- Hosting web sites for businesses - by getting their data on the web more useful targets are provided for user and a short loop is developed with the source of accurate data, i.e. the business.
- Providing feed proxy services (like feedburner) - by providing a service to bloggers, the search engine gets access to valuable user information.
- Hosting content - by hosting news articles and blogs directly, the search engine gets real time updates to content first as well as direct access to user behaviour.
- Exposing data editing tools like map editors - by offering crowd sourcing tools the search engine benefits the community by improving data and is the first to know about and leverage that fresh information.
Participation looks like a core strategy for search.