free html hit counter Yahoo Wins This One | John Battelle's Search Blog

Yahoo Wins This One

By - February 01, 2009

Superbowl start time on Yahoo:

Yahoo Sbowl

on Google:

Googlesb

I clicked on a few places with Google, and one site did not resolve. The others were frustrating. Yahoo had the answer right at the top.


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13 thoughts on “Yahoo Wins This One

  1. Yep, I had noticed the same thing (about Google, didn’t try Yahoo). Sometimes its the little things like that which make the user experience that much better, and agreed they missed the boat here.

    The question I have is, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound? I.E. will anyone know Yahoo had the better experience here (barring your post of course)? Perhaps a case of too little too late?

  2. Howard Owens says:

    When I queried Google this morning, third result was Wiki Answers.

    It was a great answer, too. More useful than “6:28.”

  3. Andrew says:

    This is only really ‘winning’ if you think of a search engine as a way to find the answer to a few popular questions. It’s all well and good pointing to Yahoo! and saying ‘look, the answer’s right there’, but the real value of a search engine is when you’re looking for something really obscure. The way you find out when the Superbowl kicks off using Google is to type in ‘superbowl’, click the first hit, and read the big green countdown. If a user can’t manage that then the bigger problem lies with how they attempt to use Google, not with Google’s service.

    It annoys me somewhat when people design computer interfaces and credit the user with an inhuman ability to avoid mistakes, but it annoys me more when people think a thing is broken when they’re just using it wrong. This is a nice touch, and maybe one Google should have done, but that’s all it is.

  4. Cory O'Brien says:

    (In response to the comments above:) Sure, it’s not going to revolutionize the search industry, but it is good to see Yahoo! adding features that people actually want in a search engine.

    I remember when Google added features like the ability to search for a UPS tracking number and have it take you directly to the UPS tracking page, and it made me use Google even more. It’s just the idea that in addition to finding obscure answers to some random question, you can also ask the simple questions and get quick and easy answers.

    With quick answers like that, Google (and apparently now Yahoo!) become the final destination for answers to all of your questions, rather than just the starting point.

  5. Kamal Jain says:

    John Battelle, you are the leader in following the search domain. I do not think you need to be marketed with new search innovations coming in.

    May be you want to write a post, on how big three have started differentiating from each other. You just found only one example. The days when one was uniformly better than others are over.

  6. I disagree. Google wins. Or at least it’s a much closer race than you suggest. The problem is that you’re searching for the wrong term.

    If you searched for “Arizona Cardinals” or “Pittsburgh Steelers” (before the game) it told you when the next game (i.e. the Super Bowl) would start.

    If you search for those terms now, it tells you the score of the game.

    So maybe there’s a learning curve here, but I’m not a huge sports fan and I realized this rather quickly. I am a soccer fan (Arsenal-supporter) and Google even has listings for EPL and La Liga games (e.g. search: “FC Barcelona”).

    Google’s approach seems much more useful and durable.

  7. OB says:

    altho its passed – via google i now get a yahoo answers link as top result.

    again – yahoo wins altho via a different method

  8. vish says:

    wow the power of a good brand is awesome. if google didn’t do it, then the user is using the search engine incorrectly. if google did it, then of course it was right… give credit where its due…

  9. JG says:

    I disagree. Google wins. Or at least it’s a much closer race than you suggest. The problem is that you’re searching for the wrong term.

    Can I, just for the record, state that this attitude galls me?

    What did you say, again, Patrick? “You’re searching for the wrong term“.

    So the solution to this problem, Patrick, is to blame the user?

    This is what we have search engines for. We have them so help us not only find information, but find out how to ask the right questions. It’s the search engine’s job to say, “Did you mean to search for [Arizona Cardinals]“, if that really is the best query to use to find super bowl start times.

    And you call this approach, which is to blame the user, a “more useful and durable” approach?

    Unbelievable.

    Vish makes the same point that I’m making. I totally agree. It’s brand, and nothing else, that is causing you to believe that it’s the user’s fault, and not Google’s.

    And I’m sure Google is not trying in the least bit to correct that perception.

    Me? I call that approach useless.

  10. Tom says:

    I just changed my default search engine to yahoo because I think its getting better. and also because google has way too much market share. hopefully more SEMers will follow suit.

  11. JG, relax. I should have been more careful with my phrasing. I do understand the importance of the issue, and I agree that you shouldn’t blame the user. You’re absolutely right that when you do the exact search that John did, it should tell you exactly what you want to know. So I agree, that Yahoo wins this one.

    My post was really intended to point out what I thought John was omitting: that Google offers more relevant information regarding sports games than Yahoo does.

    So Yahoo tells you when one game starts (and, come on, this is only a minor hiccup on Google’s part). But Google tells you when every single game starts, and what the score was for the previous game, for almost all major sports, even European soccer leagues.

    You’re out of luck with Yahoo.

    I watch Arsenal games on most weekends, and I know that if I type in Arsenal FC I’ll see when the next game starts. So naturally when I wanted to know when the super bowl started, I typed in a team name. And I got what I wanted.

    John was only painting part of the picture. So yes Yahoo might be better for the super bowl, but Google is more consistent for sports games in general.

    (Actually, Yahoo offers a lot of cool sports features, especially for soccer, but I’m talking specifically about SERPs).

  12. JG says:

    Fair enough, Patrick. I apologize for overreacting :-) I stand corrected.

  13. Andrew S says:

    Also note that Google hasn’t yet incorporated search suggestions into the search box on their SERP, while Yahoo’s had it (search assist) for over a year.

    I’d say that is the #1 advantage of Yahoo over Google search.