The Never-Ending Search For Wine
It’s hard to ignore the impact of search engine technology. Without it the Internet doesn’t exist and without great search technology the Internet’s vast resources are fairly useless. Needless to say, everyone who used the Internet as a utility spends a great deal of time with the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN.
This bestows GREAT influence on the top search engines. The ten links they return for any given search will be exposed to large numbers of people.
What about wine?
Below are the top five links provided by the top 3 search engines when the world "wine" is search upon:
There is something very iconic and very powerful about being one of the top-five links for any single term, be it "wine", "potato chip", "government", "sex" or anything else. Clearly there are forces at work here that are beyond organic. There are very sophisticated technologies and even industries that strive to place web sites as high up in the searching food chain as possible…for a price.
That said, there is something to understanding the impact of have particular sites come to the top of the search list, if only because they are seen by so many people.
What we have here is a fairly consistent set of sites that are viewed by literally millions of people who type "WINE" into their search engine of choice. We have the top wine retailing website, the largest circulation print publication on wine, the best searching site for wine, an old and well established wine portal with emphasis on its bulletin board, and a hi tech site with nothing to do with wine at all, but with a catchy "wine name".
I’ve always wondered about what those people expect who type, simply, "wine" into a search engine. Google brings up 142,000,000 pages for one to browse though. Presumably the most "relevant" are near the top. This still doesn’t explain why one would search on the word.
This does not imply that the results of search engines are generally insignificant and offer nothing of substance to think on.
Consider that when you type "The Greatest Wine in the World" into the Google search engine the first of the 266 links is an homage to Chateau d’Yquem. On the other hand, type in "The greatest wine blog in the world" and Google will return exactly ZERO Links. (this post may change that)
I’d say this response is a pretty good indication of a fairly uncontroversial idea: d’Yquem has far more recognition in the wine world than wine blogs do.
In the end, the point here is about relationships. Search engines build relationships between ideas, words and phrases and their presence out on the net. Learning about and investigating wine on the Internet allows you to to understand relationships.
For example, search Google with the following phrase: "Most Famous Winemaker".
What you get are links to a variety of opinions not only on who is the most famous winemaker, but what made them famous. Pretty interesting stuff if you are a wine geek or if you are actively trying to learn about wine in more ways than gurgling and spitting the stuff.
And that’s the point of this post. The Internet has completely changed the way we are able to learn about wine and any other subject for that matter. We have at our disposal not merely a huge compendium of information, but technology that allows us to explore it in a number of knew and innovative way. Heck, Google even offers a "blog search engines" that allows you to search only the opinions of bloggers. How great is this technology?