The signal to noise ratio for search is off the charts. For most queries, Google search ispretty underwhelming these days. While Google is great at answering broad questions with an answer, like “# of songs on Spotify” or “What is the population of Greenland", it's is not very good at delivering an answer that requires judgment, relevance to the query, and subject matter context like showing me what I want - like “I am hungry for a chicken sandwich". Suppressing the massive amount of content on the Internet has become difficult for most intentional queries. I remember listening to a venture capitalist years ago about search and discovery and her position was "search and discovery is solved." No so fast. According to SariAzout, "The stated mission of a company [Google] worth almost two trillion dollars is to “organize the world’s information” and yet the Internet remains poorly organized. Or, stated differently, in a world of infinite information, it’s no longer enough to organize the world’s information. It becomes important to organize the world’s trustworthy information."
Bottom line, horizontal search players have become too vague for curated search needs - search results have become overwhelming, often rendering a full page or more of paid ads that buy their way to the top of the page. This is in-elegant and frankly unproductive for anyone searching for information, but a disaster for e-commerce. The solution is better, semantic search algorithms with machine learning to access a curated index of topical information extremely relevant to one's search intent. The solution is better more relevant results opening a better, more refined, and intelligent business model. Many call this "boutique search engines." I call it vertically centered semantic search (VCS) engine yielding finely tuned, contextually relevant and instantly useful results for supporting advanced commerce capability.
Restaurant Menu Item Use Case Imagine being hungry for a Grilled Chicken Sandwich or some cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo. Go ahead, accept this challenge using any search engine on your browser or mobile device. Note the search results and what is rendered: Wikipedia pages, recipes, and a few restaurants that the search engine thinks may likely offer these items on their menu. Remember your motivation; you are hungry ". This search didn’t yield a great result, unless you think visiting multiple restaurant websites, finding the menu, then culling through each menu manually searching for what you are hungry to eat is a good experience. You wanted to order food, not see how to make it, or learn it’s history.
There are only four food ordering use cases and horizontal search engines like Google don’t care about this. This is too vertically centered or boutique to consider and they just don’t have this domain expertise. But what if a search engine was tuned to do one thing well, like enabling a consumer to order and buy exactly what they wanted when they wanted it? It would know your location and append these GEO data with what you wanted to eat with those restaurants offering the specific items in your pre-defined search? And this food ordering query didn't take you to a restaurant, per sec, but to the menu item you wanted to eat specifically..."Fettuccine Alfredo + near me"? Simple. Elegant, contextually relevant, and fast. This is what VCS search should be like. Unlike horizontal search aggregators, vertically tuned search engines feel more like communicating with your friends to ask for a recommendation. Orderscape created this technology in 2018, published it the on Google assistant platform and proved this concept was powerful for ordering the exact food items you wanted using your voice or your thumbs.
The Business Model
Vertically centered search engines create new business models that don’t necessarily rely on advertising.There could and probably should be a premium upgrade for rendering results or for paid placement. But, really, vertically tuned search engines designed for e-commerce are more transaction oriented. If the search connects a buyer and a seller and there is a transaction and that's a commissionable event. The value created and the services rendered includes (1) digital marketing (2) e-commerce (3) CRM (4) customer acquisition; and (5) customer engagement. All valuable to the merchant and useful to the consumer.
Orderscape's vertically centered voice-ordering solution, IMhungry.ai, is visionary, timely and valuable restaurant sales and engagement channel as they continue to struggle with customer acquisition and consumers are tired of crappy search results. See an example of Orderscape’s unique, voice-enabled semantic food item search engine working here.