Given how silent this site has been over the past few weeks, it only seems right to share with you all the result of all my work. So I’ll be posting videos of some of the highlights of the Web 2 Summit this past week, starting with our kick off conversation with Eric Schmidt. Enjoy.
Today I was in a meeting with a number of consultants to a very large technology company. Their job: market research, essentially. They called to ask me my thoughts on the media and technology world, in particular as it might play out in the next five or so years. They were responsible for helping the Fortune 50 company navigate an increasingly complicated world.
I love these kind of free association tasks, because while it’s not easy to be right, it’s also pretty easy to not be wrong if the questions are smart. I’ve been a student of technology cycles for a couple of decades, and often times what’s directly in front of you is, in fact, the next big thing.
So when I got this question: “What’s the next big thing after social?” I didn’t lose a beat in answering: “Location.”
Now, many, many folks before me have been saying this for years. I’m in no way first. But I’m an early convert, in particular, as it relates to what I call the conversation economy. And the reason is simple: Once someone can declare where they are, they add extraordinary context to both search and social, and to their expectations of what a search or a social connection might yield. For an example, see The Gap Scenario.
In short, location is a key factor in the future of search, social, commerce, and media, among a lot of other things. And that’s why the news today that Google’s Marissa Mayer, long the VP of Search Products at Google, is taking over responsibilities for the location business, strikes me as a Big Deal.
Some have argued this is a demotion for Mayer, a Google stalwart and press favorite. But if in fact Google is “parking” Mayer in a “non job” due to her status as an early and long standing employee, I can’t imagine a more strategic area for her to park. And given Mayer’s success and wealth, I can’t imagine she’d stay at Google if she weren’t committed to a new role that she believes will be game changing. She has way too many other options, including, well, not working for as long as she’d like.
I for one don’t think that’s what is going on. Local is the most important signal to emerge in the database of intentions since the link. Once a consumer demands that businesses respond to their intent in the context of where they are, right now, well…the first to get that response right, wins.
Google is 12 today, as Sept. 27 marks the anniversary of the company’s actual incorporation. Of course the company has roots prior to the date, but ya gotta pick a date. Happy birthday Google, as they say in China, may you live in interesting times….
Way back in January, I predicted (see #8) that Microsoft’s Bing would overtake Yahoo in share to become #2 in search. Today, at least one measurement service seems to have validated that claim, which at the time was a bit far-fetched, given the nearly seven point gap in share between the two companies.
These figures do not consider the Yahoo/Bing’s search deal. From the release, which is not yet up on the site:
According to new research released by The Nielsen Company, for the first time, MSN/Windows Live/Bing Search overtakes Yahoo! as the #2 search engine in the U.S., with a 13.9% share of search volume in August 2010, a 0.25% delta increase from last month.
Although Google saw little change in its month-over-month search volume, it still dominates the search market, accounting for 65% of all U.S. searches.
Yahoo! followed Google and MSN/Windows Live/Bing Search with a 13.1% share of U.S. searches, falling from a 14.6% share in July 2010 to 13.1% (a 1.2% delta decrease or an 8% relative decrease).
In terms of a year-over-year comparison, Google has seen little change in its share of search while Yahoo! has seen a small but steady decline, going from a 16% share to 13.1% (a delta drop of 2.9% or a relative drop of 18%). MSN/Windows Live/Bing’s share has grown from 10.7% in August 2009 to 13.9% (a delta increase of 3.2% or a relative increase of 30%).
Google today introduced what many are calling a major evolution in search interface today, sparking a landslide of commentary about the impact on SEO, mobile, competitors, search share, revenue, you name it.
It’s a lot to digest, and as much as I’d like to have a definitive statement on Google’s move to “instant search,” I don’t. Yet. I prefer to use it for a while, and think on it a bit more. I will admit that my initial response is more “meh” than “WOW!” – but then, I can’t really back that up. In the main, I think any major shift in search interface that is still predicated on typing inside a command line is most likely not going to change things much.
Then again, there are scores of folks who don’t share that half-formed sentiment. Here are some of the most prominent:
Live Blogging Google ‘Streaming” Search Event & How To Watch Live (SEL) Danny’s coverage of the news as it happened.
Search: now faster than the speed of type (Google Blog) The official announcement, with video.
Google Instant Makes SEO Irrelevant (Rubel) Not so fast, says Matt, below.
Thoughts on Google Instant (Matt Cutts) Matt is a key guy on search quality at Google. He says Google Instant will not kill SEO, among other things.
About Google Instant (Google.com) More from Google on why they did it.
Google Instant: A Mobile App Approach to Search (GigaOm) Interesting and cogent insight.
Google Instant Search: The Complete User’s Guide (SEL) As you would expect, second day overview on the first day from SEL.
Google Instant officially announced. Never underestimate speed. (TNW) Speed is the focus of Google’s announcement.
Google Just Killed The “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” (GOOG) (SAI) And, according to SAI, made a cool 100MM+ in the process.
More after a few days of using it…
One of the best cards in AOL’s difficult hand has been its search deal with Google, which was up for renewal this year. This morning the two companies announced (ahead of a December deadline) that they were staying together, though I can only imagine the folks at Bing didn’t make it easy. At the moment, only three parties know what Google paid – Google, AOL, and Microsoft, which knows at least what Google must have topped to win the deal.
Here’s the official release. Financial details are not disclosed, yet, but more will probably be available in future SEC filings.
Blekko is a new search engine that fundamentally changes a few key assumptions about how search works. It’s not for lazywebbers – you have to pretty much be a motivated search geek to really leverage blekko’s power. But then again, there are literally hundreds of thousands of such folks – the entire SEO/SEM industry, for example. I’ve been watching blekko, and the team behind it, since before launch. They are search veterans, not to be trifled with, and they are exposing data that Google would never dream of doing (yes, they do pretty much a full crawl of the web that matters). In a way, blekko has opened up the kimono of search data, and I expect the service, once it leaves private beta, will become a favorite of power searchers (and developers) everywhere.
The cool thing is, using blekko’s data and (I hope) robust APIs, one can imagine all sorts of new services popping up. I for one wish blekko well. It’s about time.
And in case you are wondering what the big deal is, besides all the data you can mine, to my mind, it’s the ability to cull the web – to “slash” the stuff you don’t care about out of your search results. Now, not many of us actually will do that. But will services take that and run? I certainly hope so.
For a quick overview of blekko’s core feature – “slashtags” – check out the new video, above. And to bone up on the various merits of the service, here are a few key links:
Update: First 500 readers get a beta invite! Email email@example.com to get in on it!
I don’t know about you guys, but I see way too much of this when I search Google lately.
Tonight I was looking for a particular frozen yogurt shop in Edgartown, which is a town on the island where my family has spent portions of the summer for the past 100 or so years. This was a relatively new shop, but not that new.
Anyway, we forgot the name, so I Googled “yogurt edgartown.”
Here’s what I got:
OK, none of the local results are even on the island, much less in Edgartown. So strike one.
I’m familiar with the first result below the map, but that’s not the place I mean. Strike two.
The third result is clearly some kind of aggregator, but maybe they have an up to date directory I can look at. It’s called “American Towns.” I’ve never heard of it. Do I trust it? I dunno, maybe. So I click.
I get this:
Look at that for a minute. There’s exactly ONE “organic” result on that page, and by the way, it’s not what I’m looking for. The rest are ads that in no way help me.
This is not an unusual result for me lately. How about you? When it comes to finding places via Google, I’m not really feeling lucky anymore. Any suggestions as to what I should have done to find that yogurt shop?
Wait, I have an idea. What if Foursquare or Facebook had Places search? Man, that’d be great! I could search for yogurt shops in Edgartown, and I bet, without a doubt, I could find what I’m looking for. Do they? Nope. Should they? Yep.
China has announced it will build a state run search engine to compete with, no wait, dominate and overrun, its own semi-autonomous upstarts Baidu (CEO Robin Li is coming to Web 2 this year) and Yahoo-backed Alibaba (CEO Jack Ma came in years past).
All I can say is “Good luck with that, China.”
If search engine share is seen as equivalent to vote counts at a rigged election, I have no doubt that the Chinese state engine will have a commanding share within a year. But in the hearts and minds of sophisticated Chinese users, there will be no doubt as to what the state run service is really all about. Control.
Reminds me of a highly touted, and now forgotten, European effort to start a continental search engine called Quaero. You don’t remember it? You are not alone. Fortunately, you hang out with search geeks like me. Here’s my final piece on that albatross.
It can’t be a lot of fun to run Baidu right about now. Makes me wonder if Google knew this was coming when it chose to step out of China. If it didn’t, man, does it look smart now.