Ask Chief Steve Berkowitz (caveat: we ran in the same circles at IDG) gives one of his first interviews (to the CC Times) since being formally named CEO. Steve’s a good guy and he has quite a job – being #4 in a three-horse race ain’t fun. But he lays out his plans and makes his case in the interview.
Q: From whom are you gaining market share?
A: There’s Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL. I’m sure we’re picking up a little from each. We grew our queries by 33 percent in (the third quarter). We believe the market grew at 10 percent. That means we’re gaining share. Being a small player, that’s pretty significant for us. I don’t think the other people are noticing it. Google is focused on Yahoo, and MSN is focused on Google. They’re all focused on each other.
Q: (What’s next for consumer search…)
A:….The next generation of search is going to be about getting underneath the needs of the user. One of the interesting things we’re testing in research is if someone types in the word “AF,” do you mean Air Force or do you mean Abercrombie & Fitch? We’re developing technology that will get underneath that and realize that most people mean Abercrombie. Or if I know you’re searching about upstate New York, and then you type in the word “apple,” you’re really not looking for Apple, the computer company. I can tell by the five searches you did previously that you’re really looking for an apple orchard, so maybe I can skew your results towards that. It’s getting into understanding the behavior of both the session you’re in, as well as what the masses are saying are better results. It’s about integrating all these different things back into the user experience, so what you get back is a much more perceived, personalized result.