As a Microsoft shareholder nothing thrills me more then knowing Microsoft is getting to power Yahoo search engine without having to spend $44.6 Billion to buy the entire company and all the headaches that may have come with it. Yahoo search was what Microsoft was really after and where the money will be made long term so it worked out for the best in favor of all Microsoft shareholders including myself. After this deal closes Microsoft will have nearly 30% of the search market. As Kramer would say on Seinfeld, Giddy Up. So you are probably wondering why the Oy Vay ?
What's the big deal of Bing powering Yahoo Search? Quite simply it will eliminate a great competitor that drove innovation and products which didn't come from either Google or Microsoft. Innovation that was driven for one purpose which was to stay ahead in the search market.
Since the competition will not be as strong as prior to this agreement, innovation will take a back stand.
Some examples on the innovation that came out of Yahoo are the following
- Yahoo had a built in SearchScan which helped protect users from viruses, spam email, and potentially damaging software by identifying those websites that may harm your computer. Neither Bing nor Google have this technology built into their search engines. While Google has some built into their toolbar if you have one installed, it is not built into their search results by default to warn you. So far I have not seen this feature in the search results at Bing. This can lead to search results which are not as safe.Upon clicking the image below you can see a full size screen image of what I am referring to in Yahoo search results.
- Yahoo also had another feature which I loved that made search easier to for a specific website. As an search engine optimization specialist, this was very important in my line of work as well as anyone else that maybe researching a company. This option linkdomain:http://anyurl.com inurl:office enabled anyone to look at any website and show all inlinks in a variety of options such as From All Pages to Entire Site, Except from this domain to Entire Site or Except from this domain to Only this URL.
- Yahoo Site Explorer was also an excellent tool for webmasters. It gave site owners access to the information that Yahoo had about a site's presence on the web. Upon authenticating that you are the website owner you were able to see which of your websites were indexed by Yahoo's search engine, track which sites linked into certain specific pages on your website as well as view the most popular pages.
It was very similar to other available webmasters/analytics tools but provided a deeper understanding of what was going on with a website deep in the core not just the outer layers.
The rules of today may not be the rules of tomorrow. This is not because the rules of today don't make sense or because they are bad but because Google and Microsoft may decide what they want the rules of the game to be.
Yes Yahoo had it's issues and it's search results have been a sinking ship for the last few years as they could not get a hold of the search market. Almost everyone lost trust in Yahoo search when the results were lousy a couple of years back and moved over to Google for their search. Once that happened it was hard to get these same users back.
This is a very similar situation to what the American automakers faced when the buyers lost trust in them years ago. When the American car manufacturers finally did wake up and started to built a better product, it was hard to bring back the customers and the trust they placed in the Japanese auto manufacturers.
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't always use Yahoo but when the need came up I did it because I knew the search results would be different.
Bing looks good and the feedback which I have been getting from users is that this is the first search engine coming out of Microsoft which can and will complete with Google but for heaven sake Microsoft, don't throw all of Yahoo's search ideas aside.
If I were on the conference call when this agreement will be announced I would ask the following 3 question to truly understand the impact that this agreement may have on the future of search.
- What impacts will this search agreement have on innovation as there will be less competition as a result?
- Will Microsoft Bing end up implementing some of Yahoo's search tools such as SearchScan since they don't presently have any tools that provide this service?
- What does the future hold as Microsoft sees it for the other search engines which are not part of the Google/Microsoft search empire ? Will there be more consolidation such as this which will further eliminate competition and erode innovation ?
You heard it here first, this agreement changes everything and it is not all good news but as they say in French, c'est la vie.