If you think of the internet as the wild west, then it’s safe to make the correlation of there being good guys, bad guys and everyone else.
Using this basis of comparison, who fits into what category is a completely arbitrary decision that changes between people and organizations. The search engines for example, Bing, Google, Yahoo etc, are they the good guys because of the services they provide? Or are they the bad guys because they can provide you with a basicly clear window to the internet? What about the RIAA, FCC and those of the same ilk. Are they good or bad because they want to be able to monitor online content, filter it according to rights and punish all who may dare to break their rules.
It’s a new age of content creation, distribution and monitoring, so I find it a little strange that the policy makers are pointing fingers at the big guy, Google. Their claim as a part of the proposed Web Censoship bill, is that Google (in a nutshell) is responsible for policing the internet and what their searches turn up. A spokesman for Google, Kent Walker was plain in his answer in saying that if this bill were to pass, then private companies will have a tremendous amount of power over Google and it’s behaviour. He also pointed out that there are flaws in any system, and that the bad eggs are out there specifically working on gaming the system and that just because a website has a link to content which may not be hosted by them, they shouldn’t be punished.
Because let’s be honest, as any web designer can tell you, a site can be created in about 20 minutes and uploaded and active online in 30 total. That site will then be crawled and placed in the index as appropriately as possible. Now the people trying to game the censorship system, all they have to do is create site after site, after site. The pages will be up and indexed faster than they could ever be taken down, any one with even half of an idea as to how the web works knows this.
If the bill should pass, it will mean new stringent guidelines to be adhered to and that god forbid you post something that becomes unliked by someone in power because you may just find yourself invisible in search no matter what you do. It’s an authoritorian rule, managed by those with the most power. And Scarface said it best:
In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power.
For further information and reading, you can find both sides of the argument at ArsTechnica. Both sides of the argument are discussed, those for the bill, and those against the bill.
The implements which are used by a trade expert or even a novice user to reach the end goal, the tools of the trade are most often key to the process of creation or discovery. It’s extremely rare when a person gets in trouble for using their tools to do their job, and it’s even rarer when they’re penalized heavily for it.
And yet, that’s exactly what an Italian court has decided to do, well sort of. Their first ruling this year was in regards to Youtube and their decision that the website is effectively a television station and as such needs to follow the same rules on them. Pinning the responsibility on Google to monitor the content being delivered to the country. Okay, so a couple of ip filters (very basic example) and they’d be good to go with Youtube maybe.
The Italian court however, has recently handed down a verdict on the realm of search. In one case in particular, Yahoo was found guilty for containing links which the court determined allowed copyright infringement. The same case however, was not brought up to Googles legal team, so that’s a little odd there. Also somewhat interesting, Yahoo doesn’t power it’s organic search anymore, it’s handled by Microsoft Bing. So if Yahoo (rightfully) passes the responsibilities to Microsoft, and they don’t take care of it, then does Yahoo get left out in the rain? Too broad a decision at best and leaves too much interpretation to the imagination. But then, things really get strange.. you didn’t think it stopped there did you?
Back to my tools to do the job analogy, Google, Yahoo and Bing all share near identical traits. The greatest of which is being a search tool for users to find their destination. Whether it’s a purchase, research, gaming or what have you. Search engines don’t create websites, they don’t create videos or publish webpages, they gatherm collate, and provide information as it’s requested by it’s users.
On to the weird stuff. This same court decided that users of AdWords platforms, could not be held liable for bidding on copyrighted terms for their ad spaces. Paid search advertising will not be held accountable for the terms used to place in search. Clear as mud then. Organic search results however, can be penalized under this new ruling. It’s not like Google, Bing and Yahoo are hiring massive development teams to create pages full of trademarked or copyrighted terms just to screw up the results and businesses. By this Italian court ruling however, they’re saying essentially that. Personally, I’ll be surprised if the ruling on search holds any water for more than a few days at most, it’s almost like the court has never used search to understand that it’s just a tool, not a content creator.
It shouldn’t be any real surprise that Charlie Sheen is a member in the trending topics of the day much like he has in the last few days. There’s also the trending topic of the Dior designer who’s being dropped by the fashion icon for their ranting of Jews and love of Hitler. It’s never a large surprise personally to find strange topics dominating the trending lists, but there are some news topics that surprise me from time to time.
Take for instance, the news from Statcounter that Yahoo has fallen to last place in the search wars, overtaken by Bing. At just under 4% search share, Yahoo reportedly fell to Bing who came in with 4.3% search share. Statcounter showed Google’s search dominance flying at it’s average of 89.9% of the search market. These are global search numbers, so they’re talking in the billions of queries. When you get a little closer to home, Yahoo is still leading Bing in the US.
The reason why all of these numbers don’t mean a thing, is there are really only 2 players now in the search market; Bing and Google. In 2009 Yahoo announced that Bing would power it’s search results and that they were going to join forces to try and take on the Google machine. Currently Bing is giving Yahoo results in the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. It’s Bing search pages and results, with a bright shiny Yahoo wrapper on it. It doesn’t matter how you try and portray it, it’s Bing and Google in the search game now.
Bing and Yahoo have officially come together, with the results on the Yahoo SERPs being fully “Powered by Bing”. The process began 6+ weeks ago, with it finally being completed this past week.
Slowly and surely, Bing has replaced Yahoos results page with their own, so maybe it’s just me but, the recent market share numbers posted by Nielsen stats don’t make a difference in the search engine world. Google was sitting at 64% market share, while Yahoo and Bing have a combined 27% share. Sensationalizing results, is a method of the press, and what better way to grab attention than to say ‘BING UP 50%!!”
Now, Nielsen has Bing sitting at 13.6% market share on it’s own merit. This time, last year Bing (a repacked, remarketd Live search) was in it’s infancy at 2 months old, which at the time, Bing had 9% of the search market share. Here’s the sensationalizing part, 9% increased to 13.6%, is 4.6%, yay math. But since 4.6 is just a hair over half of 9, that means Bing grew by 51%!
In the end, the numbers don’t lie. Yahoo’s “market share” will essentially decrease over time until it’s just finally lumped in with Bing, and we’ll end up with Google on top, YaBing in second, and everyone else coming in respectively after the two major players. Online PC based search is slowing down a tad as well, with the advent of more intelligent and handy smart phones, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.
It’s another step closer, the Micro(Ya)hoo results are starting to show on their SERPs. In a press announcement from July 20th, Yahoo outlined some tips and strategies that businesses and webmasters could follow to assist the transition into the new results pages.
This is an important step toward our goal of improving the overall relevance of Yahoo! organic search results and attracting a larger audience to Yahoo! Search, to ultimately put your ads in front of more potential customers.
Both Yahoo and Bing trail Google in the search wars, and with this new step in their alliance, they’ve closed the gap a little by joining forces. A quick check to see if you’re getting a brand new SERP page or not, is if a “powered by Bing” message is present at the bottom of the page. Yahoo is also working out the kinks and testing they’re beginning a limited test of the paid account transitions.
As well as their Site Explorer available until 2012, and Search Money available until October 2010, tools will still be available. And to add to the mix, as per their agreement, Yahoo and Bing will be exchanging information in order to just make everything work better. Being in the US or Canada, your search experience just got a little bit better because of the movement forward.
Another D-Day is looming on the horizon, and website owners are going to be learning another step to the SEO dance. It’s been in the works for the last while, the Yahoo-Bing search results merger, and in a recent press release from Bing, the proverbial trigger was pulled.
For webmasters, it’s important to be familiar with how the Bing crawler interacts with your site. After the full algorithmic transition is complete, you only need to optimize for one crawler (Bing), as we will provide Yahoo! with results from our index.
All of the little tricks, optimizations and tweaks that we’ve learned over the last year, can be trimmed down to the Bing bones as it were. In other words, don’t be surprised if your site shuffles and changes in ranking on Bing abd Yahoo, depending on which secondary search you work with.
You can find the entire press release issued, from their senior VP of their online services division, here.
Yahoo has been trying for months to make itself the ultimate start page for Internet users; you can already view your Facebook and Twitter feeds using Yahoo’s “Quick View” feature, but Yahoo Pulse aims to provide an improved interface and offer new kinds of integration with both Yahoo and Yahoo Mail.
Wall Street Journal reports: “A new service called Yahoo Pulse will one-up Google Buzz by offering privacy tools and integration with Facebook newsfeeds on the Yahoo home page”
Notably, Yahoo Pulse will have a privacy menu that will apply to multiple services. That feature will be an important draw for some users, given that Facebook has dealt with a big privacy backlash in recent weeks. Just don’t expect it to add completely new privacy features to your Facebook account.
The privacy angle is also important when you consider that Google — Yahoo’s chief rival — made some major privacy errors that greatly hindered the launch of Google Buzz, a very similar service. Those mistakes, and the lack of Facebook integration stopped Buzz from becoming a killer application. Pulse is Yahoo’s answer to Buzz; hopefully it learned from its Googles missteps.
The way it looks, and how it interacts with Facebook have not yet been revealed, but it’s all expected to launch within the next few days.
What’s the Package?
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Yahoo is rebranding its Yahoo Profiles feature to be Yahoo Pulse, which is currently unavailable but expected to launch in a few days”
Pulse will eventually exist as a hub for Yahoo members, to connect with others and post information about themselves. It’ll also aggregate social network info, allowing users to browse Facebook updates for example. Yahoo plans to add other social networks in the future. These integrations will spread across most Yahoo pages, including the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Mail, News, Sports, Answers, omg!, TV, and Music.
Should Google Worry?
In short: no. It seems nothing will knock Google off its Stand. Google receives more than 50 percent more visitors than Yahoo, according to Hitwise data, and even with these few tricks to gain share — including partnering with Microsoft — it’s unlikely that it’ll come anywhere close to Google.
Now, that doesn’t mean Yahoo won’t nab a chunk of Google’s glory. Facebook recently beat Google to become the most popular site in the world. So naturally, the Facebook-Yahoo marriage can only boost usage.
What About Privacy?
Lately when you hear Facebook, you may begin questioning how much privacy you have. Yahoo came prepared for such an event: Yahoo Pulse will supposedly simplify user’s privacy settings. But, Whether or not you’ll have to adjust settings in both Yahoo and Facebook has yet to be seen.
In an article I read some time ago, and has been debated, recycled, and somewhat scoffed over, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz uttered the memorable words :
Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search…It is only half our business; it’s 99.9% of their business. They’ve got to find other things to do..
It’s a rather bold statement made from one of the most unlikely sources, but it’s been said.
Every user has their own style and use for the internet. Some where along the way, you will need to look for information. Now, whether or not you use Yahoo, Bing, or Google to perform your search, you will try and find the answers which suit you best. Google just happens to be the best at search. It’s what their business was started on, and as per Google’s President of Global Sales Operations Nikesh Arora retort to the comments:
If we are a one trick pony, we have a pretty good trick.
But just because they built their house on search, that by no means has been their only business venture. Youtube, Gmail, Adwords, cloud computing, cell technology, fibre optic technologies, are just a handful of the offerings which Google brings to the world table in terms of ventures.
It was put into perspective best perhaps, by a chart constructed by Nick Bolton of the New York Times. Looks like Google actually has more pies in the oven than Yahoo does, and who is it that needs to diversify?
Aside from CEO Steve Ballmer scolding a Microsoft employee for flaunting an iPhone, Bing 2.0 was the biggest news to leak from a private company meeting on Thursday. Yes, it appears that the software giant is about ready to relaunch its search engine and great Google killer, according to a burst of unconfirmed employee tweets.
But, whether a few new bells and whistles will move the needle for Bing is hardly certain. Despite millions upon millions in marketing dollars, the search engine still trails far behind Google.
Net Applications estimated that Google held 81.22% of search engine market share in June, followed by Yahoo at 9.21% ; Microsoft’s Bing at 5.31% and MSN Live at 0.66%. Hitwise, meanwhile found that Bing’s market share was just 5.25% in June — including MSN Search and Live.com.
There must be a new search engine monster out there. In regards to the recent search merger with Yahoo and Microsoft, the following statements were uttered by the respective CEO’s.
Carol Bartz “Competition equals innovation. But with one player dominating 70 percent of search, that field has been pretty lopsided. This transaction will create a healthy competitor that’ll keep everyone on their toes.”
Steve Ballmer “Right now, there’s one company that really dominates the worldwide market for search and online advertising. The partnership we are announcing today will help to create a stronger No. 2 and increase competition in the search area.”
And yet, neither of them actually menioned who this juggernaut is. It’s like not talking about the elephant in the corner maybe? Don’t talk about it and maybe it’s not there?
I’d be more inclined to go with tread softly, lest you wake the sleeping giant. Who really knows what could happen if “it” were to go into a rage.