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Two Big News Events in Search: Google To Revise Its Engine, Facebook Launches Realtime

By - August 11, 2009

Facebook’s previously announced realtime engine has been released, coverage from Mashable:

Fast forward to today: Facebook just announced that it is rolling out the new Facebook search. With realtime search and FriendFeedFriendFeed in its pocket, Facebook is gunning directly for TwitterTwitter.

Also for Mashable, a story on Google’s “major revision” of its engine. I plan to dig into this one, as I sense it has a lot to do with crossing the infrastructure chasm to real time:

Secretly, they’ve been working on a new project:the next generation of Google Search. This isn’t just some minor upgrade, but an entire new infrastructure for the world’s largest search engine. In other words: it’s a new version of Google.

The project’s still under construction, but Google’s now confident enough in the new version of its search engine that it has released the development version for public consumption.

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Bartz: Yahoo Was "Never a Search Company". Me: Bullsh*t.

By - August 07, 2009

Sorry, it’s late, and I just saw this piece in the NYT. But for Bartz to say that Yahoo was never a search company is simply not true.

Yahoo was the original search destination, and a place folks first learned to “search” for stuff on the Web. As the original directory of things worth paying attention on the Web, Yahoo was – and remains for many – the definitive place to start a search query. And also, in the history of Yahoo, let us not forget the entire homepage was redesigned around search just three years ago.


Google Adds Sense To Maps

By - August 06, 2009

Google yesterday announced it is adding more information to Google Maps:

“(We’ve added) icons and labels of prominent businesses and places of interest directly on the map itself. We’ve found it super useful for checking out what’s nearby a hotel we’ll be staying at, orienting ourselves, getting the feel for a neighborhood, or just browsing around for fun.

Wait a minute, let me rewrite that for you, with a business model attached:

“(We’ve added) icons and labels of prominent businesses and places of interest directly on the map itself. We’ve found it super useful for  leveraging our Adwords algorithm!

There ya go! Actually, I think this is a great move by Google, and in line with the concept of AdWords being useful to the information ecosystem.

For instance, if you’re looking to check out Martha’s Vineyard, the hotels link up on the left might be a link you are actually interested in.  

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Flickr Gets A SearchLift

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new flickr searh.pngFlickr has upgraded its search, and I like the results. Funny how we are all talking about Yahoo ceding search to Microsoft, but we all forget there’s a lot of other search to be done on Yahoo – like Flickr search. I wonder who Flickr will be integrated into Bing, by the way? Anyway, from the post announcing the news:

Note the new “View” controls at the top of the page, these allow you to display the results in different sizes and formats. Both small and medium views have an ‘i’ icon on every thumbnail — click it to see more detailed information about a particular photo. We’re also doing some whiz bang stuff in the small view to take advantage of as much space as you have on your screen, just try resizing your browser to see.

On the right side of the page we try to provide a new perspective on your search. Based upon how our members are tagging their photos and participating in the Flickrverse, you’ll see links to the groups, photographers, tag clusters and places that are most closely related what you’re looking for. We hope these will occasionally provide a little extra inspiration for your search.

Lastly, we’re exposing simple summary information on the page as you refine your search.

Schmidt Leaves Apple Board

By - August 03, 2009

What a total surprise (kidding!).

In a statement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that “as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.”

That Chrome OS was the last straw, I’d warrant. From my earlier coverage:

” At the very least, it feels like it’s time for Eric Schmidt to leave Apple’s board.”

Thinking About New Models for Search

By - July 31, 2009

Yesterday I spent an illuminating hour with the folks behind Wowd, a still-private-beta search upstart that is taking a new approach to, well, just about everything in search as we traditionally understand it.

In a odd coincidence, this morning Venturebeat published a thoughtful piece on how search might shift when more data, in particular social data, is added to the mix.

I point these two links out as a marker of sorts, I’ve got a much longer piece brewing in me about Wowd’s approach to search, and how the Big Guys might respond should an upstart like Wowd get traction. More on that soon. Meanwhile, the Wowd guys posted on Tim and my Websquared paper here.

Questions On the Yahoo Bing Deal

By - July 30, 2009



Unfortunately our schedules didn’t match up yesterday, and I did not get a chance to talk to the folks now responsible for the Yahoo Microsoft deal.  

But as I thought through the deal and its implications, a ton of questions came to mind, and it seems worth the time to write them down. Perhaps folks can answer them in this thread- I know there has been a lot of information flying around, and it’s entirely likely that many of these questions have been posed and answered elsewhere.

So where to start? On its face, the deal is pretty clean. Microsoft runs the technology and owns the long tail, self service advertisers through AdCenter, Yahoo owns sales with larger customers and will keep the lion’s share of the revenue its site generates.

But when you start thinking about it, a lot of questions remain unresolved. To wit:

– What will become of all of Yahoo’s efforts in search, many of which were, philosophically at least, quite promising? In particular, what becomes of Yahoo BOSS? Of Yahoo’s philosophy of “open search,” (witness SearchMonkey), which I find compelling? Does that all go away now?

– Related, the deal states that Yahoo is free to build its own user interface on top of Bing on its own sites. But Bing’s interface is actually, to my mind, one of its core strengths. Will there be an open API and SDK for building innovative interfaces on top of Bing, or will this essentially fork between what Microsoft does on sites it controls, and Yahoo’s approach on sites it controls? I for one think it’d be really smart to let a thousand developers bloom with Bing/Yahoo.

– Will the two companies work together to develop an alternative to AdSense? So far, it’s a one company race in that world.

– What will happen to all the technologies (and people) related to Yahoo’s current search platform? Will it be sold to a third party, retired, or continued on some other fashion?

– Will the combined companies go after other major distribution points like AOL, Ask, etc? Will they work together or will that be Microsoft’s role alone, and does Yahoo have any say in how those deals might work, given it provides the majority of the distribution?

– Related, and critical, how will data be shared between the companies? What data will be shared, and to what end will it be used?

– Again related, but how will that data be used in each company’s display platforms? Yahoo has “apt”, Microsoft has aQuantive…both have exchanges, ad networks, and display infrastructure. Will they continue to compete, or might they find a deal, at least in “performance display”? In premium display, which is clearly where both companies will compete, how will search data be leveraged?

– The initial market response to the deal is that Yahoo looks weaker. How does Yahoo respond to that sentiment?

– Related, what is the vision for Yahoo now that it has exited the search business? What is the core mission and vision for the company – is it no longer a technology play? Pure media play?

– What about mobile search? Does this deal extend to mobile? Local (where I thought Yahoo always did best).

That’s my first set of questions, I’ll add more as you send em in to me…

UPDATE: Both Yahoo and Microsoft have been in touch about chatting further, and we hope to slate time later in the month (as I am on “vacation”)….more as I have it.

Yahoo and Microsoft Announce Deal

By - July 29, 2009

NYT has a good story:

The terms of the 10-year agreement call for Microsoft to license some of Yahoo’s search technologies, and Yahoo will initially receive a lucrative 88 percent of search-generated ad revenue from Yahoo sites.

Cnet does as well. Many folks are noting Yahoo’s shares slide at the open this morning. No “Boatload” of cash upfront…

More as morning coffee kicks in.

Update: YHOO is down nearly 10%, Wall St. no likey. Given the deal was already priced in, that’s interesting. MSFT is slightly up.

The formal statement is here. A marketing website called “ChoiceValueInnovation” is now up too. Really.

Update 2: I am trying to slate some time to talk with the principals involved, if I do, I’ll write it up here later. In short, though, watch two things: 1/How yahoo plans to “own” the UI on top of Bing – given Bing’s UI is key to its differentiation, and 2/Who owns the data and how is it getting used to leverage competing display advertising platforms….