Yesterday Yahoo CEO Semel gave a timeline for when his company would drop Google for Yahoo’s own internal search technology: this quarter. This has a limited effect on Google’s revenues – Yahoo paid Google less than $10 million a year to license its organic search listings, and has never used Google’s AdWords, where the real money is. But the effect could be argued to be more psychological, and oddly, good for Google.
Google is widely understood to be the 800-pound gorilla of search, and whispers of “monopolist” have begun popping up from time to time (not particularly well-thought-out whispers, but real nonetheless). Certainly whenever journalists cover search, they quote the “Google owns 80 percent of the search market” meme. With Yahoo’s distribution gone, Google may well benefit from the sense that there is more balance in the market. Once it is perceived to be battling much larger companies like MSFT and Yahoo, companies that have as large if not a larger share of the organic search market, Google may again become the internet’s underdog, a position I sense it might very well prefer.