Melanie’s RoundUp

Amazon Clicks Away from Google As we covered earlier, Amazon and A9 (in addition to Alexa) are no longer serving Google results, deferring to Microsoft's Windows Live Search, after the expiration of the Amazon-Google contract on Sunday. Today, HitWise notes that the diversion from Amazon will be the bigger…

Bezos GunAmazon Clicks Away from Google

As we covered earlier, Amazon and A9 (in addition to Alexa) are no longer serving Google results, deferring to Microsoft’s Windows Live Search, after the expiration of the Amazon-Google contract on Sunday. Today, HitWise notes that the diversion from Amazon will be the bigger loss, highlighting that 10% of Amazon clicks veer to Google whereas only 1.8% for A9. SEW ruminated on the bandwagon of “Google dumpers” earlier. Citing a WashPost article –“Asked whether Microsoft’s search engine is better than Google’s, Tennenhouse said, “It will be up to users to try that out.”–SEW quips, “So more a business move than a relevancy issue, fair to say :)”

Eying the Enemy’s Enemy

John noted earlier today the WSJ framing the scene as Microsoft and Yahoo circle each other. More from the blogosphere on the dubious courtship:

SEW: Microsoft is behind with the core search technology. Yahoo’s been struggling to upgrade its paid search service. Let’s get these two kids together!

Kedrosky says: The two companies could hardly be less well suited to one another, with Microsoft having negative savvy in Yahoo’s consumer media markets — which is why if I were Brin/Page/Schmidt I’d do everything I could to convince supposed tie-up promoter Henry Vigil to get off his ass and make it happen. After all, there are few things better for your business than thoroughly distracting your two largest competitors.

And, notes from the peanut gallery: MSN may seek Yahoo’s broad audience, but wait, what would Yahoo gain again? Canadian MSN users would say unhappy users. On Sunday, for a several hours, they were greeted by gibberish and non-functionality (screen shots here and here).

Picture 7-1Spotback Launches

Spotback provides personalized search suggestions based on individual user ratings, rather than cached article views like Google and MSN. You don’t have to register to start using Spotback, TechCrunch’s favorite feature, but if you do you can start sharing ratings with other members. Geeking with Greg notes that the results are still off the mark, probably due to limited tracking dat, as well as continued algorithm tweaking.

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Gates Pushes Ads

Back in the mid 1990s I was managing editor of Wired. Each month it was my job, working with Kevin Kelly and Louis Rossetto, to wrestle some huge idea to the ground (in the form of a long narrative, usually), give it a conceptual hook that made readers want…

Sm4 06Back in the mid 1990s I was managing editor of Wired. Each month it was my job, working with Kevin Kelly and Louis Rossetto, to wrestle some huge idea to the ground (in the form of a long narrative, usually), give it a conceptual hook that made readers want to open the magazine, then imagine what that idea might look like on the cover of the magazine. In mid 1996 we alighted on what we thought was a very big idea – Microsoft, the champion of all software companies, was becoming a media company. If you did the math, it was clear as day. To bring the idea home we turned Gates into a media mogul, placing him on a raft in the middle of a pool, ostensibly somewhere in Beverly Hills, natch.

I convinced Denise Caruso, a dear friend and talented editor, to write the story (The story is here). We worked around the clock to bring this story home, and it was not without controversy – in fact, Bill Gates was so adamant that we had the story wrong, he came to our offices to disabuse us of the notion. (Louis, our editor in chief and CEO, was convinced the reason Gates hated our line of thinking was that media companies had terrible multiples on earnings, compared to software companies. If MSFT was seen as a media company, it’s stock would tumble.)

My, how times have changed. Now Microsoft says it’s being underestimated as a media company, and it plans to prove it. And that Wired story ten years ago rushed back to mind today as I read the stories about Microsoft’s ad ambitions. From the Seattle PI:

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FM Platform Launches

What the hell is Battelle doing over at FM? Tonight you can find out, we're launching the beta of our new advertising platform for high quality blogs. More over here …….

What the hell is Battelle doing over at FM? Tonight you can find out, we’re launching the beta of our new advertising platform for high quality blogs. More over here ….

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Microsoft Says: We Can Build a Friggin’ Grid Too

Via Linden, this Seattle PI story reports on Microsoft's ambitions to build a massive grid – and spend an additional $2 billion doing it. This is the real test of a company's mettle – will it go big to create a platform for all computing, regardless of its near…

Grid

Via Linden, this Seattle PI story reports on Microsoft’s ambitions to build a massive grid – and spend an additional $2 billion doing it. This is the real test of a company’s mettle – will it go big to create a platform for all computing, regardless of its near term potential monetization. Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall, apparently. And the company can outspend anyone at this particular game. Anyone.

Now, the company is NOT saying this publicly. In the piece its CFO would not comment on what the money was being spent on, other than to say they will be hiring a lot of sales folks. But it’s clear that Microsoft must build a rival to Google’s infrastructure if it is to compete. As Linden put it:

Few others have the resources to build this massive online computing infrastructure. Who else can build, maintain, and exploit a cluster of millions of servers? Who else can spend the billions required? Not Amazon. Not Ask. Not any venture-funded startup. Probably not Yahoo.

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Yahoo and MSFT: No Way

Here's the graf you need to pay attention to in today's big story (Journal article here, paid sub): Currently, talks of an equity stake in Yahoo don't appear to be active, given that Microsoft is focusing on a reorganization that it hopes will re-energize its effort to compete with…

Here’s the graf you need to pay attention to in today’s big story (Journal article here, paid sub):



Currently, talks of an equity stake in Yahoo don’t appear to be active, given that Microsoft is focusing on a reorganization that it hopes will re-energize its effort to compete with Google, the fast-growing provider of search services and advertising.

What the F? This seems to be a non story. Everyone talks to everyone about everything, all the time. End of story.

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MSN Most Relevant For Insurance Companies In Cincinnati

SEW points to YAS (yet another study) which shows that MSN wins in an unscientific relevance test. One would not want to generalize to the billions of results (and infinite queries) that search provides, but if you're looking for insurance quotes in Ohio, brother, you're golden. From the study's…

Wkrp

SEW points to YAS (yet another study) which shows that MSN wins in an unscientific relevance test. One would not want to generalize to the billions of results (and infinite queries) that search provides, but if you’re looking for insurance quotes in Ohio, brother, you’re golden. From the study’s intro:

We didn’t start out attempting to figure out which search engines were most relevant, we started out looking for holes in the results. Then we would structure our marketing and search engine optimization projects to fill the holes. This makes it much easier to grab new customers than simply going after the most popular keyword.

To target the holes, we needed to know three things. Which terms to target, where the holes were, and what kind of site was currently filling the hole. Then we could construct a marketing and SEO program that would cost less, and be more effective.

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The Melanie RoundUp

Track Tim in Google Earth Tim works for and is wearing the product of a GPS tracker company, and he’s become a lab rat for tracking folks using Google Earth (no privacy implications here, of course). There's also a New Yorker named Dave both wearing a live tracker and…

Track Tim in Google Earth

Tim works for and is wearing the product of a GPS tracker company, and he’s become a lab rat for tracking folks using Google Earth (no privacy implications here, of course). There’s also a New Yorker named Dave both wearing a live tracker and displaying images from a cam on the side of his glasses.

http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/05/wheres_tim_trac.html

http://www.timhibbard.com/wherestim/default.aspx

http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/2006/04/real-person-real-time-google-maps.html

http://www.shakindave.com/index.php?flash=yes



Google Parses Top URl Search Result


Google tests more UI results, this time trying divvying the top result into its hierarchy, letting users choose relevant content within. The test occured at least in Dutch and French, categorizing into articles, links, forum, games, teaching lessons, etc… As SEL notes, “If this is something that becomes widespread your page naming conventions had better make sense and be accurate ;)”

http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-05-01.html#n47

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2006/04/new-google-test-more-from-top-result.html

PIC:
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7506/607/1600/google_serp_test.jpg

PIC:
http://img502.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ss7gg.jpg

via
http://www.searchenginelowdown.com/2006/05/google-serps-experiment-top-ranking.html

“The Most”: Search-Directed TV

Finally, TV becomes less dumb by letting search trends to determine news/entertainment content (yeah, Current does this, sort of…). Though the execution of the idea is has yet to be seen– this is a neat idea, something of a triumph of search potential and technology into the MSM.

(Perhaps a future trend, and places them in better competition with UTube/Digg and the like.)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12537219/

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Kamal Writes…

Reader Kamal writes: IMHO, having a notion of initial default search engine and letting OEM set it for consumers is a major bargaining position for consumers. This way every search engine would pay money to OEMs to get themselves as initial default. OEMs in hyper-competitive PC market would pass the…

Reader Kamal writes: IMHO, having a notion of initial default search engine and letting OEM set it for consumers is a major bargaining position for consumers. This way every search engine would pay money to OEMs to get themselves as initial default. OEMs in hyper-competitive PC market would pass the buck to the end users to make their PCs cheaper. Consumers win!!!

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Google Worried? Yes.

One of the things that struck me the most about talking to all the folks at Google was this principle: the closer you got to the core, the more you heard the word "Microsoft." Eric Schmidt spent most of his career fighting (and losing to) Microsoft. Ram Shriram worked…

Gatesgoo

One of the things that struck me the most about talking to all the folks at Google was this principle: the closer you got to the core, the more you heard the word “Microsoft.” Eric Schmidt spent most of his career fighting (and losing to) Microsoft. Ram Shriram worked at Netscape, as did Omid Kordestani. John Doerr – enough said. The folks who are closest to Larry and Sergey are very, very worried about Microsoft, as well they should be.

Today’s NYT has a piece which provides some details on what Google is doing about that concern. From it:

With a $10 billion advertising market at stake, Google, the fast-rising Internet star, is raising objections to the way that it says Microsoft, the incumbent powerhouse of computing, is wielding control over Internet searching in its new Web browser.

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