After the Yahoo-Microsoft alliance had officially been approved, Yahoo! wasted no time adding even more features to their brand. Twitter and Yahoo! will now enter an agreement where people can access their twitter feeds throughout Yahoo! from Yahoo! Sports to Yahoo! Mail. You can tweet and retweet anywhere within Yahoo! because of this integration. Yahoo! Search Results will also consist of public tweets on a variety of topics.
The U.S. Department of Justice has officially approved the Yahoo!-Microsoft alliance.
Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, will provide the search results for Yahoo! enabling Microsoft to have the best chance at taking down industry-giant, Google. The transition in the search results is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Google’s commanding share of the search market (71%) has prompted Yahoo! to regroup and add new features to their consumer and advertising platforms. Yahoo has expressed a plan to add video results to their primary search results instead of just keywords and links. Search results will also appear below Yahoo! emails. The results will be related to the email content to some extent. Yahoo! Search Marketing advertisers are now able to import Google AdWords campaign data directly to their Yahoo! campaign.
Yahoo! is certainly struggling with only 15% of the search market in their grasp. With Bing improving the most of late, this percentage could drop even more. While Bing and Yahoo! are still in the midst of a merger that will combine the efforts of both brands to overtake Google, Yahoo! brass still want their brand to be a powerful entity by itself as these improvements show.
A U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit against Yahoo! by a woman who sued the search engine for search results associated with her name. Beverly Stayart claimed that Yahoo! purposely linked her name to pornographic websites and erectile dysfunction drugs. The court dismissed the case, ruling that Yahoo! was protected under the Communications Decency Act.
Stayart filed her case in February and accused Yahoo! of various trademark violations, claiming that she is the only Beverly Stayart on the Internet. Those allegations failed because if there has ever been a person with her same name, Stayart would have a major problem proving the links were associated with her. Judge Rudolf Randa addressed this by saying: “No one who accessed these links could reasonably conclude that Bev Stayart endorsed the products at issue.”
Vanity search or egosurfing is a popular process referring to web users exploring the results of their own name on a search engine. This case shows that while a user may be unhappy with websites that result from a search of their name, little can be done due to the likelihood of someone sharing a same name. In sum, this case sets a precedent that will likely prevent copycat lawsuits from springing up across the country, sapping search engine time and resources.
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.
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.