Google Instant provides the clearest evidence for years that Google is still prepared to throw its engineering might – and its wallet – into raising the stakes in the search business.
This turns out to be more than the one-off launch that we wrote about last month. Rather, Instant has become a rolling series of changes that together amount to a very sizeable challenge to anyone else who wants to stay in the search business long term (are you listening, Microsoft?)
This is how Johanna Wright, director of product management for search, described the latest twist to Instant, unveiled on Tuesday: “We’ve had to take images of every page on the Web, and to know where every word on the internet sits.” Read more
If Google Instant is everything that Google hopes it will be, the entire industry of search engine optimisers and marketers has some work to do.
The new search feature, launched at a slickly staged event at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (Google is finally learning some of the Apple magic), predicts a user’s intent and returns results as a query is being typed. With each additional keystroke, Google says it can make a fresh calculation of the most likely search query and show instant results.
In theory, as Googlers on hand like Marissa Mayer and Sergey Brin were quick to point out, this should make no difference to the eventual results or the adverts that users click on. The ranking algorithms remain the same. But in practice, Instant could have far-reaching effects. Read more
A year after Yahoo and Microsoft finally agreed to combine their search efforts, the result is showing up.
Starting this week, natural searches on Yahoo from the US and Canada will begin being “powered” by Bing, the Microsoft search engine. Paid search results are still on track to be delivered by Microsoft this autumn, Yahoo executives said Tuesday, unless quality issues force a delay past the winter holidays.
Most users won’t be able to tell the difference, but the relevance should be better, said Yahoo vice president Shashi Seth. Read more
Today’s closure of Microsoft’s two-year-old Cashback experiment serves as a reminder of an important point: it has failed to come up with any smart ideas to subvert Google’s business model.
Ballmer and Gates always made clear that they saw the search wars taking place on two fronts – technology and business model. Improving the quality of results and the user experience was only part of the fight. Turning the tables on Google through business innovation supposedly offered another opportunity. Read more
It was only a matter of time before Brussels began looking at an antitrust complaint against Google. Murmurings of discontent about the dominant search engine have been going on for several years now, and recently there has been a rash of smaller cases against the company.
Three particular cases are being considered by the European Commission. A complaint by Foundem, a UK vertical search company, one from ejustice.fr, a French legal search site, and a complaint made initially in Germany by Ciao!, a vertical search site recently bought by Microsoft. Read more
Google is holding out a helping hand to the embattled newspaper industry with a new way of browsing newspapers and magazines online.
Eric Schmidt, chief executive, has criticised the formats of online editions of newspapers as slow and “pretty unpleasant to read.”
Google unveiled “Fast Flip” at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco on Monday as a possible solution. Read more
The love-hate relationship between Microsoft and Yahoo will be tuned to “hate” for the remainder of the month.
In private, the companies are working on separate versions of integration plans that will send some Yahoo engineers to work for Microsoft as it prepares to take over delivering automated free and paid search results to Yahoo. Read more