In my latest interview, I had the chance to speak with Gary Price of Ask.com about vertical search. Gary became well known in the search community because of the time he spent working at Search Engine Watch, but he is also a very visible and highly respected librarian. This plays into his role at Ask, which includes helping making search better at Ask, and being a resource to Ask.com users.
Gary has an encyclopedic knowledge of available specialty databases. Want a music database? Gary can tell you where to go. Want to find a national wedding registry? Gary can tell you where to go to find that too. A key part of what Gary does at Ask is help to get these specialty databases integrated into the Ask search results. You can think of this at integrating vertical search components into a horizontal search engine, with the goal of helping users find the answers they want in as few steps as possible.
Looking towards the future, Gary sees a continued move towards federated search, such as Kayak which aggregates and dedupes travel information from sites like Expedia and Orbitz, or Indeed.com, which aggregates data for job information.
Just under a month ago, I published here on Search Engine Watch my first interview with Gary Price. In this earlier interview we talked quite a bit about the integration of specialty data bases into Ask.