When you talk to a lot of Internet users today and where they look for information online, most of them cite Google, Yahoo, or MSN as a website of choice in looking for local and international information.
Although some of the Filipino diaspora I know uses local search engines like Yehey and various directories to look for basic information about websites and companies, for purposes of immediately narrowing down their queries.
In 1995, when there was an estimated 10,000 Filipino Internet users, the first Philippine search engine surfaced. This was G-Spot (now offline) from Cebu-based GSILink.
In 1997, Yehey was founded and still remains as the most prominent search engine and Philipine Internet directory. During those days, the site competed with EDSA. To survive and grow, Yehey has branched into a general-use portal and provided e-commerce services (PayPlus+).
EDSA, MyPhilippines, and PinoyCentral also entered this market but eventually got out of it.
The only one that remained purest in its form, start to present, is Tanikalang Ginto - Filipino Links, a human-edited directory of Ken Ilio (who also blogs!) that started in 1994.
Is the Philippines search engine market space already dead? If there is still a need for it? What do you think it should have to remain relevant?
Right from the start, I always complained about local search engines not being able to crawl local sites. Until they do that, the eventual obsolescence of a search engine is inevitable.
To survive, it is in their best interest to partner or put in more resources to boost their technology. If crawling is an issue, another option would be to make the existing directory a fully human-edited site where the members can police themselves for abusive content submission of sub-pages.
With RSS, local search engines can start employing RSS aggregation technologies to pick up new content and store it in their databases. If this is done, there would be a surge in content and this would prompt more for local sites to embrace RSS.