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Recently, Matt Cutts delivered the opening keynote for SES San Francisco (August 2012) where he clearly mentioned that one of the key focuses for Google is to move away from being a search engine and focus on becoming a knowledge engine. Google is so committed to this that Google's Search Quality team has been renamed to Google's Knowledge Team.
This would be a major shift in what we know as the web. How to get found by new visitors would evolve in a big way. Those who depend on search traffic should be paying close attention to every step along this path because it WILL impact our own business models.
As one member said in our Next Generation SEO [webmasterworld.com] discussion, "Adapt or Die".
but that's always been the nature of search engines
Anyone is welcome to prevent Google or any other bot from visiting their site, and in Google's case, the taking of your content.
[edited by: TypicalSurfer at 12:31 pm (utc) on Oct 5, 2012]
I disagree. The nature of a search engine has NEVER been about providing content. There is a reason why Google's home page is empty - that's all they have. What you are describing is often referred to as "content scraper".
[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 12:22 pm (utc) on Oct 5, 2012]
A good example of this is one "knowledge" area they have dominated for a long time and this is maps.
[edited by: atlrus at 12:38 pm (utc) on Oct 5, 2012]
Google has always used 3rd party providers in their map product. They've bolted on a few goodies (street view) but are still reliant on others for the lions share of the product
[edited by: atlrus at 12:52 pm (utc) on Oct 5, 2012]
It's possible that Google can hire it's own writers etc who can input this information rather than taking it and listing it
Google trying to move into content delivery