Can the Crowd Topple Google? – Me.dium Search

Last week I wrote an article on the new Cuil search engine and compared it to Google. The general consensus was that while Cuil had a unique idea, it was really no match for Google.

After that article went live, I was contacted by the Me.dium search team who were keen to hear my thoughts on their new search engine.

The idea behind the me.dium search engine is that it they claim to be the first crowd-powered search engine. According to the team, search results are adjusted to reflect what users are currently browsing.

The idea seems sound. Having search results mediated by recent search trends should in theory create better results. The problem that I can see from my test searches is that unless you are searching for a high-popularity search term, there isn’t enough data to adjust the results based on trends, which mean you get standard search results.

Having said that, if you are looking for the latest “hot spots” on the net for a topical search term, then the me.dium search engine does seem to deliver some reasonably good results.

But to be fair to Google, let’s compare it using the search term I’ve used as a example before, “neon lighting Brisbane.”

In Google:

Of the top ten results 6 of the 10 were actually sites selling neon lights in Brisbane, one was a wikipedia article on Brisbane Tourism, two were informational sites on neon lights and one was my old article where I used ‘neon lighting brisbane’ as an example just like now.

In me.dium:

Top result was my old article, but five out of the ten were for sites actually selling neon lights, one was a wikipedia article, and three were sites that had some relevance to neon lights.

The Verdict:

The natural un-mediated results are not bad in me.dium, and they’re certainly better than Cuil. And when you search using popular terms the crowd-control does step in quite nicely, but realistically I would see no benefit in moving away from Google, especially when most SEO’s believe that Google takes clicking-patterns into consideration as part of their algorithm anyway.

Me.dium currently has over 2 million users who have installed the me.dium toolbar, and those users obviously find it useful but I won’t be switching anytime soon. A very good niche player.

Craig Somerville is a Director at Reload Media, having worked extensively on the digital and online strategies of leading companies within Australia and around the world. With a background in marketing and economics, Craig's unique experience offers great insight into how the world of search and online marketing is changing in today's rapid marketplace. He is also a Google AdWords Qualified Professional and regularly consults on all aspects of digital marketing including search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media.