Last month’s Microsoft/Yahoo! deal continues to draw attention throughout the search community. The market share of Microsoft’s Bing.com has continued to increase slightly since its June launch, but it is still a far cry from Google’s dominant stance in the industry. It is hard to argue that the deal is not affecting Google; the company has unveiled an update to its search platform. Experts see it as a response to the move, but Google denies such claims stating that the update had been in the works for awhile.
Perhaps the greatest challenge that Bing faces in its fight against Google is search loyalty. Google has simply become a habit for users over time, with most giving little thought to a potential switch. Gord Hotchkiss, CEO of Enquiro Search Solutions, said “For Microsoft-Yahoo to disrupt the Google habit, they have to offer a compelling enough reason to do the cognitive heavy lifting required to break a subconscious habit.” Bing will need to change its casual users into faithful ones.
Microsoft and Yahoo! may also be confronted with antitrust issues as a result of their agreement. The question posed by the partnership is whether or not online advertisers will benefit more with a single, more powerful rival to Google when compared to two less threatening foes. It will be challenging for regulators to make a case due to the fact that the number two and three competitors are joining forces (as opposed to the top two in a market). Legal officials are not expected to complete a review until 2010.
While nothing has changed dramatically since the agreement, competition among search engines is sure to remain strong.
Google has introduced Caffeine, a new and improved version of its search platform (the update is currently available for use under an alternative link). The move is described as an “under the hood” update, meaning that nothing will change externally, and the average user will not recognize much of a difference.
Google Caffeine has proven to be more effective at incorporating recent information such as news stories into its top results. The update has also made Google search slightly faster. In his blog, Google software engineer Matt Cutts reiterated that the update will not bring extreme change: “This update is primarily under the hood: we’re rewriting the foundation of some of our infrastructure. But some of the search results do change, so we wanted to open up a preview so that power searchers and web developers could give us feedback.”
The update may begin to address Google’s challenge to incorporate real time search. Results from social websites like Twitter are more common, but Microsoft’s Bing seems to still have the upper hand in this regard. There have been past talks of Google and Twitter working on a real time search deal.
Experts see the update as a response to the recent Microsoft/Yahoo! search deal, but Google says that the move has been in works for months. Google may control nearly 75 percent of the search market, but it is not about stop working on new innovations. “Nobody cares more about search than Google, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to improve, Cutts said.”
Quick update regarding Google search result pages. The sponsored link ads to the right of the organic listings now appear closer to the natural search result listings. В I’m fond of this change because the ads appear more in plain sight and are less likely to be overlooked by one’s eye. В This bodes well for advertisers using Google AdWords.
The recent resignation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from AppleвЂ™s Board of Directors has rekindled the idea of Apple building a search engine of its own. Both companies are competitors on various fronts. For example, GoogleвЂ™s Chrome browser competes against AppleвЂ™s Safari, and GoogleвЂ™s android operating system for smartphones contends with AppleвЂ™s iPhone system.
A major reason tech experts assume Apple is launching search is due to a struggle to obtain a search function on the iPhone. A unique search engine would fit hand-in-hand with AppleвЂ™s Safari web browser. Apple may have missed out on an opportunity now that Microsoft and Yahoo! have negotiated a search deal, but the introduction of a new search tool could bring a third party into the race for search superiority.
A change could take users away from Google, which is currently the default search tool for Safari. Many Apple fans would make the switch, which could account for up to five percent of the search market, along with all iPhone users.
Despite the potential gains, Apple Search remains a rumor, as there is little proof of the company organizing a search program. Another possibility is a search engine with results powered by Google. A partnership could make sense. Google already pays Apple from earnings through Safari, and Apple could also use help in advertising.
While Apple does want to improve the search options for devices like the iPhone, the introduction of a full-fledged search engine seems unlikely at the moment. However, the possibility of a search partnership with Google is interesting, potentially giving Google an ally in its battle with Bing and Yahoo! while also certainly brining up antitrust whispers.
After three years of talks, Microsoft and Yahoo! have reached an agreement regarding online search. The ten-year deal gives Microsoft rights to Yahoo!’s search technology, while in return Yahoo! receives 88 percent commission from advertisements. Yahoo!, the number two search engine, and Bing, number three, are hoping to compile resources to take on Google. A main effect of the deal is that Yahoo!’s natural and paid search results will now be powered by Microsoft’s Bing.
The deal will triple Bing.com’s market share to nearly 30 percent. However, the battery still has a long way to go in the search battle, as Google’s share of the market rests at 65 percent. The deal has not been as kind to Yahoo!, as its stock has dropped 16 percent as of Thursday afternoon. Microsoft hopes that Yahoo!’s advertising ideas will attract users to Bing, while Yahoo! hopes to add features to its site that will allow it to compete with more socially-oriented websites such as Facebook.
One potential hang-up is that antitrust allegations are already swirling. Google previously ran into problems when trying to reach a deal with Yahoo!. However, there is a better chance that the Microsoft/Yahoo! partnership will be upheld because it could likely increase competition with Google.
Advertisers long to benefit from viable competition with Google. “It is good for our clients and our agencies and for regulators,” said Martin Sorrell, a chief executive of British advertising group WPP. The merger could level the field if advertisers draw more traffic through the Microsoft/Yahoo! collaboration.
This massive change in the search engine world could certainly benefit users, as each side will continually have incentive to improve. However, others are less optimistic and predict the deal will have little impact.
The media’s continued attention on the battle between Microsoft’s Bing.com and Google has somewhat pushed Yahoo! out of the picture. Downfall in revenue has forced Yahoo!, former number one search site, to resort to pink slipping workers. However, news has improved for Yahoo! of late, as the search engine released a new home page on Tuesday.
The new page features links to several popular third-party sites including Facebook and eBay. Users can see headlines from such sites by simply moving the cursor over a toolbar titled “My Favorites” on the left side of the page. Yahoo! has also introduced a “trend-setter” box that highlights the popular searches of the day. Some experts feel the move is an attempt to attract Microsoft back into talks regarding a search advertising deal.
Negotiations have been intermittent for months, with each party hoping that teaming up could give Google considerable competition. According to reports, talks are closer than ever, with Microsoft executives meeting with Yahoo! in California. In the deal, Microsoft would reportedly pay for several billion dollars worth of Yahoo!’s search advertising business. Despite this recent news, the tide can turn quickly: Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz once said that the search company would “be better off if we had never heard the word Microsoft.”
It is hard to deny that a deal would certainly bring more competition to Google. Users can only hope that such a battle will bring consistent improvement throughout the search realm.
We blogged previously about the expansion of search engines to wireless devices. Now Google has unveiled AdSense for Mobile Applications, a program that will allow ads to appear in smartphone applications. Advertisers can now place text or image advertisements within programs for devices such as the iPhone. Google hopes that the change will bring more money to developers of mobile applications while also giving advertisers a great way to reach consumers.
Ads are embedded within the content of applications and can be placed as banners at either the top or bottom of the page. With the opportunity for creators of such applications to make more money, experts feel that the industry will grow.
AdMob previously offered similar services to advertisers, but now that Google has introduced their program, it is sure to carry a lot of weight, even though itвЂ™s still in the early stages of development. Google has had other AdSense programs for quite some time, and been working slowly on its mobile program for two years. It announced the launch of its beta program last month.
As the web continues to become more easily accessible through new technology, opportunities will arise regularly for advertisers to reach consumers. Google values the importance of the mobile search market as users continue to be able to do new things with smartphones.