11 thoughts on “BizWeek Says It All”

  1. Are you’re saying is that Google is here, has won, and everyone else can go home?

    If that is the case, what is the point of your Searchblog?

    I’m sure you also remember Netscape. And AOL. And IBM. And recently Dell.

    All with (apparently) insurmountable leads/positions in their respective spaces.

    If companies/technologies that supplanted them had taken the same ‘let’s pack up our toys and go home’ view, what might have happened?

    Where are they now?

  2. “It’s about humans” who use language to search for relevant information.

    There is not a hell of alot that is relevant to the consept “google” — but “shopping”, “hotels”, “books”: those are sites with information that is *more* meaningful and *more* targeted than some one-size-fits-all department store like GoogleZon.

    “Anybody can click instantly to a new search engine”. Yea, LOL! WTF?!? Why click? Did you get that? **WHY CLICK??** On what page is this super-do-no-evil-man suggesting that a user might click? Ah, yes: the answer is simple and straightforward! Since this would be something NEW and IMPROVED and VITAL and THRIVING — can anybody guess what the name of that page would be?

    ;D nmw

  3. All anyone has to do is provide better results. Yahoo’s already seeing a direct increase in clicks and revenue from Panama, which improved their ad relevance. None of this is rocket science, when you get down to it; Google has the advantage of having a lot of accumulated data with which to build statistical models, but if someone invents a smarter ad ranking algorithm, all they need to do is deploy it and they will immediately start attracting revenue. Google is just as vulnerable to the next search improvement as MSN and Yahoo were to Google.

  4. Many folks keep saying that the next search improvement at some place else will take the business away from Google as Google took business away from Yahoo and Alta Vista. These folks keep forgeting that this is not easy. Taking out a piece of meat from a Lion’s mouth is not easy. This is quite a difficult task but not impossible. When Google was building its search service at that time search engine was not as popular, important, or profitable business as it is today. Many big names such as Yahoo used to outsource their search engines, thereby were leaving an opportunity for other companies including Google to step in.

    Today search is an established business. One could beat Google by inventing another killer internet app or may be by inventing another superior business model. Trying to improve upon Google, or as a matter of fact any company, in its own game requires patience and determination.

    Eric Schmidt understands this difficulty therefore he keeps saying that users could be lured away from Google. But he keeps forgeting that up north there is a company with required patience and determination and a passion to deliver the best value to consumers.

    Disclaimer: The commentator is a senior researcher in Microsoft. The comment is solely the commentator’s opinion and may not reflect the opinion of his employer.

  5. “Eric Schmidt understands this difficulty therefore he keeps saying that users could be lured away from Google. But he keeps forget[t]ing that up north there is a company with required patience and determination and a passion to deliver the best value to consumers.”

    The problem with that companies passion for best value to consumers is that it comes to a screeching halt as soon as the competition is out of business. When Google started offering Gmail how big were the Inboxes for Hotmail and Yahoo mail? 4M? And the incentives (in the form of features being taken away for the free version) to “upgrade” to the premium $20 version were being added almost daily. As a Yahoo user at least, I was pretty sure that I’d rather just pay my ISP (or a Web hosting provider) for a REAL e-mail id than to be bait and switched to the MS or Yahoo alternatives. With the arrival of Gmail all of a sudden both Yahoo and MS developed a, uh, “passion” for e-mail. Why? And what will happen to that passion if Google goes away? No thanks. Your company has made its reputation, now has to live with it.

  6. Macbeach, you are absolutely right, Microsoft did not get the internet economics right.

    But you are also not getting the capital economics right. In the capital economics you pay for your services. Or may be you get some basic service for free and pay for premium services. There is nothing wrong in it.

    You could have blamed Microsoft if Microsoft email offering was not competitive with the other offerings of that time. Both Yahoo and Microsoft email offerings were about the same. Yahoo and Microsoft played by the rules of capital economics.

    Then Google came in to picture. It brought a new set of economic’s rules called internet economics — or some may say it took existing set of rules from bubble era and improved them. Does not matter how you see it. I do not think there is much economics literature on this new set of rules. There is one bug (or you may call it feature!) in these new rules. Consumers see the upside of these rules directly and possibly nobody has yet analysed the downside. It does not mean the downside does not exist. It may simply be pushed out of vision.

    It is quite likely that Gmail was a loss leader. Both Yahoo and Microsoft reacted to Gmail and made their services competitive in storage and surpassed Gmail in terms of useability. End users won. Again, reacting to a loss leader is not easy in a normal economics process. End users benefit if the reaction to a loss leader is good and the end users eventually suffer if the reaction to a leader fails. I expect you see the logic behind the former part of the statement. For the latter part, if the reaction fails then the loss leader may not remain a loss leader perpetually and the end users will eventually face the economics reality of the “loss” part of the loss leader.

    If you like to see a flip side example. There was a period, I think may be 2005, when many people failed to see much improvements in Google search engine. It is in 2006 when Google again started improving its search engine. It is both Yahoo and Microsoft who are keeping Google on its toes. You can see both-way examples in online maps. Microsoft had put all the sattelite imagery online. Google improved upon them by putting a better UI around them. Then Microsoft and Google improved upon each other by making countless improvements, including 3D views. At the moment Microsoft’s map stands superior. But who knows what is cooking in Google.

  7. Yahoo mail / Hotmail more usable than Gmail? Have you used Gmail at all? Yahoo and Hotmail merely recreate the tired Outlook three pane UI for the web, without doing any of the things that allow a web UI to be more productive than an offline UI.

  8. I am not a geek. I am one of the early users of Gmail, since one of my class mates work for Google. Gmail UI confuse me. I never seem to be able to find my email. They are threaded in some other email. The page also looks quite busy and threatening. But I liked the storage there and forwarded all my email I obtain on my now defunct college email account. I loved Yahoo mail until they deleted all my email for failing to logon for few months. To count me as a customer they did not close my account but made it useless. I know Hotmail does the same and I hated 2 MB quota on my wife’s Hotmail account. But I am hundred percent sure that for a person like me both Yahoo UI and Hotmail UI are ten times more useable than Gmail UI. And for people like me there is no reason to even consider Gmail competetive since both Yahoo and Hotmail improved their biggest shortcoming and that is storage. Last I heard, Yahoo is planning to offer unlimited storage.

    These are my personal opinion. And it is okay if you have a totally different opinion. I respect your opinion and it is good that we both have a choice to choose whatever works best for us.

  9. Will Google have some bumps in the future? Certainly. But, Google is the only search engine that remained true to search and didn’t sell out to advertisers and pay-for-play artificial results. That’s a line no search engine should ever cross and unfortunately for the other players, Google still has their street cred.

    When it comes to Gmail, UI and the whole mix. Gmail is the only service that started offering free email with *secure* POP and SMTP access, limited ads (text based, nothing flashy and completely disturbing as you read an email) and an enormous amount of space. Then Google extended that offer to people that own their own domains–for free! Yahoo and Microsoft just didn’t see the value in holding on to a user. I had paid email through GoDaddy. For lack of a better word, it sucked. I ditched their paid service and moved to Gmail domain apps. It’s simple, straightforward and completely compatible with your traditional desktop mail client.

    They should be afraid.

  10. i don’t hope that google will dominate the market alone for ever… but as long as i get good search results (most of the time) it’s ok for me – as a user 😉

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