Google makes its money delivering targeted advertising to the millions of people around the world who use its search engine. On this, Google has built an empire.

Yes, there are other avenues Google is pursuing - most notably Web 2.0 applications and, more recently, telecom. But to date, grant me that these remain unproven as major revenue streams for Google.

So what is this "imperceptible undercurrent" tickling that part of my brain that thinks about business?

Niche, vertical, boutique -- call them what you will -- search engines. These search service providers are looking at various search technologies to optimize specialized searches.

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