Yahoo! vs. Google (continued)
There was an article today in NYT which was only mildly interesting - what i found on a related subject that captured my attention more though was the threadlinked post by Fred Wilson:
According to Comscore, one of my portfolio companies, Google's US market share is 38% and Yahoo! is 35%. So between the two, they own 73% of the US market. Worldwide, Google is stronger, with 47% to Yahoo!'s 27%, but even worldwide, the two of them capture almost 75% of the market.
It's interesting to me because I use Yahoo! (my.yahoo.com to be specific) as my start page, but I use Google as the search field in Firefox, where I do most of my searching. And I use Google's desktop search which further drives me toward Google when I do a search. But for local search, maps, and yellow pages, I always go to Yahoo! because they have by far the best service for that kind of search.
Of course that's all well and good, Yahoo is a more rounded service by far, but what when, that's when, not if, Google put all these Beta's and aquisitions they've been hoarding into play? Maybe under my.google.com - the whole scene could shift dramatically at that point...
Im not sure if the Globe and Mail are breaking an NDA here but it looks like they might be, especially in light of peter's comments - one of the "SearchChamps" team.
From the Globe and Mail piece:
Microsoft has declared war on Google, Yahoo and other search engines with MSN Search, which is being officially launched tonight at midnight, Feb. 1.
After a development period of just 21 months, MSN Search — in Canada at search.sympatico.msn.ca — Microsoft took the final wraps off its newest product, which it promises will offer a "more personalized search experience."
Microsoft's entry into search-engine technology represents the Redmond, Wash., software giant's attempt to take a bigger bite out of the lucrative search-engine pie. Ad revenue from searches on all engines in Canada added up to $21.3-million in 2004, aimed at the country's 16.4 million Internet users.
Let the games begin...
News Officially Broken
...and some quotes and links from the more interesting sources:
NYT - Microsoft Introduces Its Own Search Service
Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Microsoft was now in a position to differentiate its offering.
"There is a tremendous opportunity for rapid innovation here," Mr. Gates said in an e-mail interview, "and the great thing about the launch of MSN Search is that we now have a strong platform in place that will enable us to begin to deliver those innovations to consumers."
Microsoft has added a few features meant to differentiate its new service.
It has included, free, the content from its Encarta encyclopedia, which until now has been fee-based.
Social Networking Sites Move Towards Specialization
With a rash of relatively general social networking startups last year kickstarted by the likes of Friendster in 2003 VC $$$'s are tuned to more specialized services and structures in 2005. Dating and Business networks being a prime focus:
Opportunities remain, though only a few companies in the space are profitable as of yet. David Sze, general partner with Greylock, sees dating and business networking as the two areas where consumers are willing to pay, but he said that a lot of companies haven't figured out yet how to make money.
In both those markets, users are more likely to pay subscription fees, an extra revenue stream on top of the traditional advertising revenue that social networking sites usually focus on. VCs' belief in these markets in particular can be seen through the example of one round - the $110 million blockbuster round for e-dating firm eHarmony.com Inc., which raised the money from Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and Fayez Sarofim & Co.
Interesting article on how to comment-spam captcha enabled blogs
(if you were one of the 94 people i comment spammed) sorry about that, and hope that you are not pissed. if you are new to my site, then you must realize that i like to stir things up every once in a while. if you've been here before, then i'm hoping you've got a smile on your face, and sort of expect stuff like this from me :) anyways, you were targeted for 2 reasons. 1) because your blog uses CAPTCHA to provide a false sense of security. 2) because we are members of the same group. so i know a handful of you (and know of most of you). could easily have done this against a bunch of strangers ... but did not think that that was a good idea. this is just my way of saying that we've got more work to do. i will not be comment spamming you anymore. unless you comment spam me back in retaliation ... and then i'll have to blast you out of the water ... just kidding.
Earlier today we reported on the launch of LifeHacker, Nick Denton's new Gawker Media property.
It's live - and im hoping for good things...
From Nick's post on the launch:
Lifehacker is to software as Gizmodo is to hardware. I wanted the site myself, as a reader, because I'm a bit sick of all the download directories out there. Say you're looking for freeware to convert Word documents into a PDF: you end up downloading half a dozen applications to find the one without spyware or a heinous interface. In future, Lifehacker will be the guinea pig.
Thomas Register and Thomas Regional have combined to form ThomasNet - as searchviews points out, if you're looking for Thermoset polyurethane elastomer products, you're in luck!
From the about page:
ThomasNet, powered by Thomas Register® and Thomas Regional®, brings together industrial buyers and suppliers on a national, regional, and local level.
For industrial buyers, ThomasNet is an industrial search engine that provides one source for finding the exact product, service, or supplier they need - at the exact time they need it. ThomasNet also gives buyers direct access to the detailed information they need to make a purchasing or specifying decision, including line-item product details, CAD drawings, and more.
For industrial suppliers, ThomasNet is a leading provider of Internet marketing solutions. The company helps suppliers grow their business online by driving qualified industrial traffic to their Websites, and converting that traffic into customers. ThomasNet's complete range of online catalog, e-commerce, and CAD solutions help suppliers deliver the detailed information buyers expect on the Web.
Unusable RSS ads, courtesy of Jacob Nielsen
"Up to $250,000 in life insurance with inexpensive rates. Highly advanced life insurance system. Complete your application in less than 10 minutes. No blood or urine tests."
Jacob...why don't you supply your own feed directly so I don't have to delete these untargeted, irrelevant, and really unusable spam-bits?
I couldn't agree more Alex, the ones i really hate are the ones that come up as seperate posts prefixed with 'ADV: ' - they just get in my way and on my nerves and are NEVER about anything even remotely related to the normal subject matter of the feed im reading.
Give me decent contextuals in the feed if you must, but make them bloody relevant dammit!
Microsoft Won't Bundle Desktop Search with Windows
Looks like M$ have been forced to rethink thier integration strategies for Windows as a result of recent antitrust rulings:
Speaking on a panel on search technology at the Harvard Business School's Cyberposium, Mark Kroese, general manager of information services and merchant platform product marketing for MSN, said the federal antitrust battle Microsoft waged with the government has made the company think twice about what technologies it can add to the operating system.
There are some search engines out there right now breathing a little sigh of releif no doubt though they mention nothing of integrating a toolbar for IE for their MSN Search stuff...
Interview with a link spammer
Ok, so which Threadwatch member did an interview with The Register eh? heh...
Sam - let's call our interviewee Sam, it's suitably anonymous - lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in London, drives a vintage Jaguar and runs his own company. But "it's not not all rock and roll and big money", says Sam. What isn't? Spamming websites and blogs with text to pump up the search engine rankings of sites pushing PPC (pills, porn and casinos), that's what.
For that's what Sam does, pretty much all day long. He - we'll use the male notation, it's easier - would do this anyway for fun, but it's more than fun; he says he can earn seven-figure sums doing this. Sam is a link spammer. He's unapologetic about it. Skilled in Perl, LWP and PHP, Sam's first professional programming was done aged 13, when he sold some code to a gaming company. He's 32 now, and spoke to The Register on condition of anonymity.
Sounds like a dozen or more folks i know haha...
added: OMFG, it get's better....
So the link spammers - who prefer to call themselves "search engine optimisers"
Now that's going to put the proverbial cat amongst the pidgeons heh... i can see the white hat supremicists getting all frothy at the mouth right as i type...
added: I just spoke with "Sam" who still wants to remain anonymous as the piece may offend some of his blue chip clients but he did have this to say:
All quotes are accurate but some were taken out of context. it should also be noted that Charles Arthur is an avid Blogger - Remember he thinks it's legal to give bloggers content for free!
Here's Why Google Should Buy Technorati
Russell Shaw at The Standard posts a little mild speculation on whether Google already have plans to buy Technorati - it's no secret that Google are severely lacking in the blog search department: The way Google works is just not suited to rapid indexing of the kind that Technorati specialize in and, i would say, that that flaw is becoming increasingly obvious and making GOOG far less useful for many types of search tasks.
Im not sure that GOOG would actually buy Technorati, i think it's far more likely they would develop something similar in-house. Technorati may be watching 6.5 million blogs but with Googles power, if they were to launch a pinging service they'd surpass that number in no time i think.
From the threadlinked standard piece:
Google, they of the $52 billion market cap, needs that functionality in the blog search space. They should acquire Technorati, and then do the following:
*Keep Technorati as a distinct URL. Otherwise, pinging anarchy would rule, and that would suck.
*Set up a Blog tab on the Google home page, on the same line as "Web, Images, Groups," and so forth. That way, you can specify a search of Blogs rather than Web, Images, Groups, or even your desktop.
*If you perform just a plain ol' Web search, list the first few Blog hits above the Web hits, in summary form.
Yes, Google should buy Technorati. How about, now??
For me, i rarely use google for breaking news - i do use news.google.com of course but it's not the same, and it's not as fast as finding blogs that have already spotted a story and are linking and commenting on it right now.
So, questions for Threadwatch'ers:
Does Google need a Ping Service and blog index?
Should/would they buy Technorati?
Could Yahoo beat them to it? - after all, Yahoo are streets ahead in RSS adoption so maybe that would be a more likely scenario?
Sony Endorses Weblogs With Site Integration Sponsorship
Adrants reports in the threadlink above that Sony will become the "exclusive launch sponsor" of LifeHacker.com (auth req'd) LifeHacker will be a software oriented version of Gawkers Gizmodo, one of the original gadget blogs and will be run by Gina Trapani who currently runs scribbling.net and will focus on all manner of techy software.
Sony have also bought into Gizmodo itself:
Sony's site integration sponsorship of Lifehacker will include the integration of the Sony logo with the Lifehacker masthead, as well as standard IAB ad units. The buy also includes Gizmodo, Gawker Media's gadget title. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte pushes a cheap PC for the rest of the world.
RedHerrring report in the threadlink above on Nicholas Negroponte's brainchild to develop a $100 PC to be aimed at developing markets. China will be first on the list with the units shipping no less than 1 million orders at a time.
Mr. Negroponte’s idea is to develop educational software and have the portable personal computer replace textbooks in schools in much the same way that France’s Minitel videotext terminal, which was developed by France Telecom in the 1980s, became a substitute for phone books.
AMD, Google, Motorola and Samsung are among those that have pledged support for the project.
Yahoo to Offer Financial Data Feeds
Yahoo! will be giving Reuters the boot and will be running feeds direct from the stock exchanges and marketing those services to other sites. Forbes will be its first customer.
Craig Forman, vice president, information and finance, said that Yahoo would continue to license data from providers such as Reuters, but said the company wanted have "greater control and flexibility" over the financial data it receives and distributes.
"We're the No. 1 financial Web site on the Internet," Forman said, adding that Yahoo's Finance section -- http://finance.yahoo.com -- has gained enough recognition as a brand to be sold to other Web outlets.
"Now we're expanding that strategy of syndication to include financial information," Forman said.
No NoFollow - Fight Spam, Not Blogs
Seems like bloggers are starting to realize that nofollow is not necessarily a good thing for them - see the wiki threadlinked above.
Mick Stanic agrees with the anti-nofollow site but Scoble disagrees. Interesting to note that many of the evangelic nofollower's are now downplaying the tags effects on comment spam when only a week or two ago it was hailed as the saviour of blogs....
The National Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam are experimenting with using the Google database to teach meaning extraction to computers according to NewScientist
To gauge just how closely, Vitanyi and Cilibrasi have developed a statistical indicator based on these hit counts that gives a measure of a logical distance separating a pair of words. They call this the normalised Google distance, or NGD. The lower the NGD, the more closely the words are related.
Google already sort of do it with their ~ function (no it isn't a synonym search whatever they call it, not unless someone redefined synonym while I wasn't paying attention) but in principal it could be interesting if someone can make it work really well - and I wonder if Google will require use of the programme in return for them running it on their database? Now that could open up a lot of possibilities.....
Hyperlinkage is a little like Bloglines only it has less cool features but a much smarter interface - it's very young though - apparently still under development.
Certainly worth keeping an eye on but some questions that immediately spring to mind:
It gathers feeds when you want them, not every hour like bloglines - if it gets popular that'd be a big bandwidth/load balance concern im guessing.
Where's the biz model?
Im not sure if this is just "someones site" or a funded project but it does look like it has potential and i love the way you can simply get all your feeds in order but mixed.. er what i mean is, i subscribed to the threadwatch feed and the library stuff feed and all the stories came up at once but in timestamped order - neat. You can also get them individually.
Apple Edges Google as Top Brand
According to a survey by Brandchannel Google are no longer classed as the top brand worldwide.
In the survey of almost 2,000 ad executives, brand managers and academics by online magazine Brandchannel, Apple ousted search engine Google from last year's top spot, but the surprise to many will be Al Jazeera's entry into the top five.
interesting that neither Apple nor Google appear in the Europe and Africa top 5, but Nokia (mobile manufacturer) are, the North America tops are mostly tech while the S. America tops are almost entirely food and drink related with no tech at all.
Was The Mark Jen Flap A Publicity Stunt?
Last week there was much fun and mayhem with Google's rather unfortunate new employee Mark Jen - we had a field day here at Threadwatch (or i did at least heh...) with these threads:
Google Gag Rogue Blogger - But Yahoo! Tells the Story
The FULL Mark Jen Google Blog - The Blog Google tried to Gag
Mark Jen #2 - Google's Idiot Blogger Returns
In the last one i mentioned a few suspicions i couldn't quite shake off about the whole thing:
You know, there's a nasty, cynical little voice inside my head that keeps crying "Setup! it's a setup!" - this voice argues that PR is a funny old game and messin' with the blogosphere is *easy* - it's no real bad press for Google - but it's a hell of a lot of attention for them on a day when GOOG stock is downgraded
and now it seems that those suspicions may not have been so far fetched at all. From the blogoscoped post threadlinked above of an original post at dirson:
Mark has no reason for it, so either Google is publicizing him, or someone is trying to make Google look bad by purchasing this ad. Of course, there is little chance of the second theory, since, as Dirson shows, the very text of the ad is rejected by AdWords, since you cannot use the word "Google" in an ad!
Now, why would google do this?
They need a scoble?
Making the best of a bad situation
It was all a setup from the start for publicity?
Digital identity event at Future Salon
Nial Kennedy has some nice recordings of a presentation at Future Salon on Digital Identity including Eric Sachs of Google who talked about Orkut and Gmail and some of the issues surrounding digital identity and what G feel users want and need.
It's a worthy listen though their is little of surprise in the talk...