It may seem like Google always has been the search engine of choice. There was a time, though, when AltaVista, Lycos and Yahoo ruled the roost in the late-1990s, only to see Google blow past them. A new survey by Forrester Research concludes that such a turnabout could happen again, despite the solid and growing lead Google maintains in the search market. It found that brand loyalty to search engines is quite low. That coupled with the lowest of switching costs makes the still nascent search market an open playing field, the researcher concludes.
Tag: search engine
The '90s hip-hop star takes on ... Google?
Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. unveiled a plan to improve the results of Microsoft's Bing search engine by tapping into peoples' social connections on Facebook, amping up the rivalry with Google Inc. The companies described the agreement—a deepening of an existing partnership—as a big step in improving the personalization of search results for everything from movies to restaurants. The deal could also give Microsoft a way to distinguish Bing from Google's market leading search engine.
Google products are efficient, slick and -- as the coders say -- elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast. But are they fun? That's the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn't marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.
Outside of a tectonic shift in search results/quality – think how offering 100x more email storage encouraged people to switch webmail companies back in 2004 — people are not going to ditch Google as their primary search engine. And Google isn’t taking any chances – by paying Dell $1B for their search toolbar to be pre-installed on new Dell PCs, or pushing Android (who’s the default search engine?), they are doing their part to make current habits continue and lock down their whole “supply chain.” For Google’s enemies, the best way of hurting the search goliath is not to build a better search engine, but rather to give people a reason to stop searching for a wide class of goods and services by preempting search on Google.
Google’s recent announcement that search spend growth rates are slowing represents that search marketing as we all know (and love) it is changing. Advertisers still use search engines to market much the same way they did five years ago. But as consumer behavior expands to include searching through apps or communities or via non-PC devices, marketers will need to think about search marketing as more than just SEM and SEO. At Forrester, we expect search marketing to evolve into an umbrella term which means using any targeted media to help an advertiser get found. What changes are afoot to provoke such a redefinition of search marketing?
PSFK attended the recent Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York for an opportunity to catch a panel on the development of trends in Internet search behavior and product development. Panelists included Stefan Weitz, the Director of Bing, Larry Cornett, VP of Consumer Products at Yahoo! Search, Brett Tabke, CEO of WebmasterWorld.com, and Robert Murray, CEO of iProspect. The panel was moderated by Graham Mudd, VP of Search & Media at ComScore.
Wolfram Alpha may not call itself a search engine — rather, a “knowledge engine” to process questions that can be answered with objective data and computation — but it faces a similar challenge to wannabe-Googles that want searchers to come to their destinations. Simply put, Wolfram Alpha needs users. And so the wonky company, under the leadership of new managing director Barak Berkowitz, is now moving from polishing its product to getting people to actually use it by changing up its distribution strategy.
Twitter has just rolled out a new homepage that’s a marked improvement over the current offering. The new site features a new ‘See who’s here’ section that introduces new Twitter users to some of the celebrities and brands they can find on the service. It also includes a new, constantly updated section for Top Tweets, which are algorithmically selected interesting tweets (Top Tweets also has its own Twitter account here).
It's hard to believe that a year ago, Google and Apple were still best friends. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. Plenty of Google employees proudly showed off their iPhones. All seemed fine as the two companies took on their common enemy, Microsoft.
Google's likely shutdown of its Chinese-language Google.cn search engine, the main portion of its China operation, isn't good news for marketers and their ad agencies -- but it hasn't fazed them about business opportunities for multinational companies in the mainland, either. "Google came into this country with their eyes wide open and knowing censorship would happen," said Shanghai-based Arto Hampartsoumian, CEO, China at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Google on Thursday mounted a renewed defence of the way it ranks search results, as fresh questions emerged about its practice of sometimes manually intervening to override its automated ranking system. The company has been forced onto the defensive by the disclosure earlier this week of a preliminary anti-trust review from the European Commission. Brussels is looking into complaints from three companies that Google’s search rankings and its related advertising system treat some competitors unfairly.
Google on Thursday morning set out a further defence of its system for ranking search results, as it attempted to defuse questions from Europe’s top antitrust regulator. In a new blog posting, Amit Singhal, a Google employee responsible for the ranking system, claimed the company’s algorithms produced a better quality and more relevant result than a system that involved human intervention.
Want to know how Google is about to change your life? Stop by the Ouagadougou conference room on a Thursday morning. It is here, at the Mountain View, California, headquarters of the world’s most powerful Internet company, that a room filled with three dozen engineers, product managers, and executives figure out how to make their search engine even smarter. This year, Google will introduce 550 or so improvements to its fabled algorithm, and each will be determined at a gathering just like this one.
In my last column, I had the chance to chat with Bing Director Stefan Weitz about how Microsoft is approaching search as it sits today. But the question I asked that lead to the interview in the first place was “Where does search go from here?” Microsoft’s Bing team certainly has its own ideas of where search might be going and that’s what I’ll be covering in the continuation of my conversation with Stefan. Ultimately, I’m looking at how search can become more useful for users. Right now, there are two huge challenges that are boxing in search as a tool that’s truly useful in our day-to-day lives. The first is an input challenge. Language is notoriously ambiguous. In my last post, Stefan and I talked a little bit about the challenge of semantics and search. When I say “Jaguar,” what do I mean? Is it an animal, a NFL team, a car, an operating system, or some other obscure meaning that has crept into usage somewhere?
Curt Dalton has found a way to turn marketing on its head. The 36-year- old economics major, based near Boston, will launch a search engine by the end of the month that identifies demand for products and services, so marketers can fill the supply.
Mobile question and answer startup ChaCha has been able to turnaround its model, possibly achieve profitability, and raise boatloads of money, much to our surprise. Today, ChaCha is rolling out a Facebook application allows users open access to questions and answers from both ChaCha and all of their friends.
What does your search engine say about you? Well, if it's Bing, you're probably an early adopter, but you also visit, shop and ultimately make purchases from Walmart more than other search-engine users. Google searchers, on the other hand, are partial to Target and Amazon, and Yahoo searchers have a strong preference for wireless service from AT&T and Sprint.
The rate that things happen online tends to influence the rest of our world. It began when instant messaging on PCs made a move to SMS text message on mobile phones, giving friends and lovers instant access to each other whenever and wherever, as long as both were in an area with cellular service. Now, Twitter and Facebook status updates on Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo real-time search let us know the moment someone goes to the bathroom. You get the message.
We all love to hate the evil empire, but let's be fair. Microsoft has humbled itself dramatically, and the company is sincerely trying to do a good job with Bing. The team at Redmond is getting used to their unexpected position as the underdog and, based on my conversation with Weitz, they're beginning to relish the challenge that comes from playing David to Google's Goliath. My quibble, however -- and it's not an insignificant one -- is that Bing needs to step up its differentiation.
A new decade. I like the sound of that. I'm a bit late on these, but for some reason these predictions refused to be rushed. I haven't had the contemplative time I usually get over the holidays, and I need a fair amount of that before I can really get my head around attempting something as presumptive as forecasting a year. So I'll just start writing and see what comes. While past predictions have focused on specific companies and industry segments (like Internet marketing), I think I'll try to stay meta this time. Except for Google, of course, which is still the only company in the Internet economy that can be seen from space. For now. But we'll get to that.
Google is stockpiling a wealth of user data. With its search engine, its advertising services, its applications, its new free DNS service, and more, the company has an incredible perspective on exactly what users are looking at. Many fear that Google could abuse this information or allow it to be abused, either for profit or to prosecute citizens who aren't necessarily guilty. In short, fears that "Big Brother is watching you" have been replace with fears that "Google is watching you". Google's recently responded to such doubts, blasting those that would harbor them. Google CEO Eric Schmidt commented to CNBC, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
Unveiling significant changes to its dominant search engine on Monday, Google said it would begin supplementing its search results with the updates posted each second to sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. As part of its much-anticipated entrance into the field known as real-time search, Google said that over the next few days its users would begin seeing brand-new tweets, blog items, news articles and social networking updates in results for certain topical searches.
If you’re at all like me, then you find Web search pretty frustrating when it comes to figuring out the local weather forecast. You pop a city’s name into a search engine and get a list of a few different weather sites. Oddly enough, they often have quite different forecasts for the days to come. The question remains: sweater or no sweater? Microsoft has taken some steps to solving this riddle – and a number of other irksome Web quandaries — through some fresh updates to its Bing search engine that it unveiled Wednesday.
The Empire always strikes back. Every revolution inspires a counter-revolution. Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance didn't win independence overnight — and neither, it seems, will the www. Microsoft is negotiating with News Corp to pay it to remove its content from Google's index. Uh-oh: the Empire — industrial-era business as usual — is striking back. Will the rebels be crushed? Not a chance. Blocking Google is about as smart as eating a pound of plutonium. Here's why MicroFox is making a big mistake.
Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.
Drum roll, please. Search engine Google topped Forrester Research's survey of consumers' favorite online brands, though respondents ranked the company low on qualities like "trustworthy," "relevant" and "fun." Forty-four percent of consumers rate Google as their favorite online brand in 2009, compared with 36% in 2007. The search engine dominates in wealthy homes. Fifty-five percent of those bringing home more than $100,000 annually rank Google No. 1. It appears relevance is still a weakness for search engines. None ranked above 35% in this category. In fact, only 25% of Google fans rate the engine as relevant. That's a category where Yahoo and Microsoft inch ahead at 33% and 30%, respectively. Meanwhile, only 35% of Google fans view the brand as trustworthy and reliable, while only 6% of YouTube fans say that company had the same attribute.
Ask.com's newly appointed U.S president, Doug Leeds, says he intends to reinvent the "question and answer" engine, and has embarked on a project to take the company in a new direction. Part of the project, supported by technology built on search, aims to solve a completely different problem: not where to find relevant information on Web pages using link structure, but where to find relevant information based on someone's question. The technology relies on query signals that Leeds claims have not previously been built into search. To extract and rank existing answers, rather than ranking Web pages that contain information, Ask has developed a unique set of algorithms and technologies based on relevant signals geared toward questions and answers.
The Kayak.com travel search engine is hoping to "flip" from a well-kept secret among frequent travelers to a tool used by mainstream travelers every day. After discovering earlier this year that 68% of consumers who use online travel sites had never heard of Kayak, the company decided to focus on marketing. This week, Kayak is launching its first national advertising campaign on TV, online and outdoors, created by its new agency of record, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. The creative features the tagline: "Search one and done," a device that resembles the traditional destination/time flip display boards once found in train stations and airports around the world, and a new logo based on this "flippy" device.
As consumers, I think you’ll agree, prior to making any decision purchase, most of the time, our journey begins with a combination of online search and real world conversations with friends, family and peers. As the Web matures, a greater volume of our attention and focus continues to shift from other mediums to the Web for not only purchase considerations but also for content discovery. It’s how we learn. It’s how we stay connected.
This week, I moderated a session at SMX about real-time search. Personally, I find the convergence of social and search to be perhaps the most significant trend of 2009. Social adds an entirely new dimension to search. Traditionally search has been used to find "what" you wanted to know more about. Social adds the dimension of time. Suddenly, relevance isn't the only measure. Search now needs a "stale date," a measure of the freshness of the results.
This is Part 2 of my series of posts summarizing a fascinating recent hour-long one on one interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Early in the interview I asked Schmidt about the future of search. I brought up the “search is 90% done” misunderstanding from last summer. Said Google Vice President Marissa Mayer at the time. Specifically I asked Schmidt “What are the hard things to be solved in search in the next ten years?” His lengthy answer meandered around a central theme, that Google needs to move “from words to meaning.” In other words, Google needs to understand queries better, and return results that best match the real meaning of a query. “We have to get from the sort of casual use of asking, querying…to “what did you mean?”"
The elevator speech. It's one of the prerequisites of business development. In the time you can spend with someone on a 30-second ride, how do you describe your business? For established brands, the elevator speech is not so much a speech but a word. For brands like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, you can quickly get from brand name to association in a word. Let's play the game together, in your head or on paper. Google? Microsoft? Apple? Got your word?
It’s no secret that even with their recently-announced alliance, Yahoo and Microsoft will lag well behind Google in the hugely profitable search and search advertising business. How far behind? With a combined 28 percent of the American search market, Yahoo and Microsoft could double their usage and still trail Google, which accounts for 65 percent of the market. But by another important measure, the two sides are much closer. ComScore found that for the combined Yahoo-Microsoft, “searcher penetration,” or the percentage of the online population in the United States that uses one of those search engines, is 73 percent. Google’s searcher penetration is higher, but not by that much: at 84 percent.
If you're at all lucky, you'll spend at least part of this summer far away from spreadsheets, reports, ad consoles, and bid management software. While there's nothing wrong with single-mindedly focusing on all the granular data associated with search, too much data, all the time, can rot your brain. With this latter point in mind, this week's column attempts to wrestle with some large-frame issues that I think deserve attention, because, as we learned from the financial crisis, it's often the most basic, most obvious issues (such as whether all subprime mortgages that were being issued could possibly ever be repaid) that can blow everyone out of the water. In other words, just because nobody's talking about something doesn't mean that it's not real enough to kill you.
Yahoo is close to making Microsoft's Bing its search provider. The deal, which would make Yahoo a more credible competitor to Google, is likely to be announced this week, and seems likely to be based on a revenue share, not on a big fat check upfront, as some at Yahoo had hoped.
If you wanted to research something—the musician Johnny Cash, for example—would you go to a search engine or a library? There are many studies on search usage. It’s safe to say that at least 50% of people now turn to search engines for information. That number increases for certain types of searches, such as shopping or health information. If you are young and grew up in the technology age, the likelihood increases. So our young person may try Google and type in “Johnny Cash” at first. But I doubt it.
It's been just over six weeks since the birth of Bing. While I didn't actually say Microsoft's new search baby was ugly, I was less than optimistic about its chances of unseating Google in a popularity contest. So, with every measurement panel carefully following Bing's debut, I think it's time to see just how the little engine is doing in the search (oops, make that "decision") sandbox.
The following post was written by a well known executive at one of the largest sites on the Internet. The author has requested to remain anonymous - not for dramatic effect, but because of the backlash he would receive from the SEO industry and possibly Google itself. He also doesn’t want his company associated with the post. He is starting a discussion on the need for government regulation of the organic and paid search policies of Google, which maintains a commanding lead in search market share today. Or at least transparency in how search results are determined. There is clearly growing frustration on the constantly changing “border policies” that are created and enforced by Google and other search engines. It is a fascinating read.
There are many ways to slice and dice search query intent: Navigation vs. browsing. Entertainment vs. information. Commercial vs. non-commercial.
How do you find a new search engine if all you know is Google? Typing “search engine” into the usual box might lead you to Microsoft’s newly launched Bing, the combined search at Dogpile, or the former king of search, Altavista. But for those willing to dig around, searching for search engines can reveal a treasure trove: The net is rich with specialized search services, all trying to find a way to get their slice of the billions of dollars Google makes every year answering queries.
An extraordinary day of breaking news on Thursday led to record-breaking traffic spikes as people searched online for information about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and, especially, Michael Jackson. And just like their counterparts in traditional media, the news divisions of Google, Yahoo, and Bing responded with sometimes extraordinary measures to ensure they were giving searchers the most accurate and current news available.
Bing gets to the point quicker more often than Google. Search engine query results are organized better by a series of filter options and a more welcoming design, according to a report released Thursday from Catalyst Group.
You'd think nothing would get under the skin of search giant Google. But co-founder Sergey Brin is so rattled by the launch of Microsoft's rival search engine that he has assembled a team of top engineers to work on urgent upgrades to his Web service, The Post has learned.
Technology blogs have wondered whether Google is a lumbering giant in this Twitter moment, unable to handle streams of tweets that were broadcast just seconds earlier. Google moves faster than some of its critics think. But even if didn’t, the more important question is this: Do we really want Google’s search engine to swallow Twitter’s output as fast as it comes, without filtering, analyzing and ranking by authority? “Real-time search begets real-time spam,” writes Danny Sullivan, the editor in chief of the Web site Search Engine Land.
Despite all the bling that has been spent on Bing, few people are giving Microsoft's new search engine much chance of stealing away even a fraction of Google's dominant market share. That makes sense when you consider the strength of Google's brand - the term 'Google' has become the verb for undertaking an online search. The brand, we are reliably told, is now the world's most valuable, with an equity of more than $100bn.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been talking a lot over the past two weeks about Yahoo and how it competes against Google and Microsoft. Each time she does, I feel like she’s digging the hole even deeper for Yahoo’s prospects in search. Rather than communicate a clear search strategy — which you’d better have if you’re in a war against Google and Microsoft — she resonates mixed messages that Yahoo can ill afford to send.
Traditional search engines like Google excel at finding objective information in the vast network of pages on the web, but what about when you want a local restaurant recommendation? Going far beyond general reviews or even those of twinsumers with similar tastes is a new search site that aims to get more personally relevant by asking your own extended network of friends.
A little internal test at the Mountain View, Calif., search giant goes like this: You take Google search results, slap them on a Yahoo search page and ask users which results they like better. Inevitably, Google wins -- even though they're the same results. Such is the power of the Google brand, arguably the company's most important asset.
The Associated Press said Monday it is launching an initiative to better control its newspaper members' material online. Under the initiative, whose details are still being determined, the AP will work with Web portals and other digital partners to track -- and pursue legal action against -- publishers that use this content on the Web without a license.
Kosmix, a well-financed Silicon Valley start-up, is often described on blogs and news sites as a search engine that may someday rival Google.
One day last summer, Google’s search engine trundled quietly past a milestone. It added the one trillionth address to the list of Web pages it knows about. But as impossibly big as that number may seem, it represents only a fraction of the entire Web.