There’s so much going on in search engine land right now I can’t help but make a couple of comments:
- Microsoft buying Yahoo! Well…maybe, maybe not. But YHOO’s up 18%. The new company would have 2 search engines, 2 ad systems, 2 email platforms, 2 IM systems, 2 video sites, 2 music services….it would be the Noah’s Ark of the Internet. Integration will be a long series of painful battles: Panama or AdCenter? FreeBSD or Windows? Flickr or…ok, maybe Flickr. But who gets to be the VP of Widgets? All this will distract attention from product development and end users. Bulking up doesn’t normally go with less bureaucracy and faster decision making, things both companies need to catch the next rising Facebook or YouTube.
- A friend asked “Why did Google change to iGoogle? Is this one of their home page doodles?” Sure enough, people are griping online – the meanest is a user named “RX Maverick” calling Google “some teenage girl that wants to fit in”. Google said the Personalized Home page is their fastest growing product, even faster than the gangbusters YouTube. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Didn’t “Froogle” show that tweaking the Google brand can create confusion? Aren’t iPrefixes Apple’s bag? Anyway, if you don’t like the iGoogle logo change, tell them here.
- Reading about Ask.com’s perpetual self-re-branding brings sweet but painful memories of my AltaVista days. Talking up and improved algorithm (it’s from…”Jersey”), rolling out silly ad agency slogans (AltaVista “smart is beautiful”, Ask has “I was all algorithm-ed out”), and making radical brand changes (AltaVista went from mountains to colons, Ask from butlers to anarchists). In AltaVista’s case, everyone ended up getting new jobs. Is Ask heading down the same road?