Read a bit over the weekend. First, the B’week cover package timed for the IPO is entirely reconstituted pablum. You’ve read this piece before, don’t bother. However, there is an interview with Page online, here, worth reviewing if you’re into that kind of stuff. Best quotes:
Q: Where is search today on an evolutionary scale?
A: People have consistently underestimated the size and importance of search. It’s a very, very large space of technologies, usage, and information. We’ve gone from 30 million to over 3 billion documents in just a small number of years. There’s going to be a lot of commercial activity in this space, a lot of companies doing things that are going to be very valuable.
Q: Competitors want to build search that simultaneously queries an individual’s local computer, e-mail archives, as well as the Internet. Is that something Google aims to do?
A: Our mission is to organize the world’s information. Clearly, the more information we have when we do a search, the better it’s going to work. There are all sorts of details involved in different kinds of products, including privacy issues. I’d expect us over time to have access to more information.
Second, there was a big cover story on Diller and IAC last week, in the same issue of Fortune as the Moritz piece I blogged a few days ago (sub required past first page on both). The piece was written by Bethany McLean, who is credited with breaking the Enron story. And while I was particularly interested in how IAC – a non-centralized, non-consumer facing company built on a confederacy of otherwise unconnected brands – competes with centralized, software-and-analytics driven companies like Yahoo and Amazon, Bethany did not address those issues. There’s a fine history of Diller and IAC, trademark analysis of IAC’s numbers, almost reverential profiles of IAC execs, and classic Fortune hyping of a potential “gotcha” (“Cover tag: “What’s real and what’s fantasy?”!). But there’s no gotcha.
The piece does have clues to what I think will drive IAC’s future. In the last portion of the story, Diller talks about “eventual synergies” in his operating businesses. I think the company’s long term fortunes will turn on the timeline of these “eventual” synergies. So… what drives synergies between lines of business online? Yup, search. Not to bang the search drum too loudly, but, the core asset IAC lacks most is search – a hole the Fortune piece missed, for the most part, though Diller does rue his loss of Lycos years ago. I certainly believe that regret is heartfelt. ” Those dopes!” he says of the folks who fought him on the Lycos deal. “We were going to wire all out commerce to the No. 3 search engine at the time when habits were just changing. Our company would have been so far advanced!” Looking at what Yahoo, eBay, MSN, AOL, Amazon, and Google are trying to do now, I have to say I agree.