07/29/09
Microsoft and Yahoo! Boohoo for Google?

Not likely – or at least not yet anyway!

Today Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they have (finally) completed a 10-year search deal which will help them be more competitive against the giant that is Google. However, they haven’t combined their advertising businesses.

Microsoft Yahoo Partnership

Microsoft Yahoo Partnership

Yahoo! currently has about 20 percent of the global search market, with Microsoft hanging behind with just under 10 percent which leaves Google with the lion’s share of the remaining 70 percent. Many have estimated that Google will begin to lose market share to Microsoft’s Bing as it gains popularity through its visual superiority over Google, however other have argued that if this becomes the case then Google will just match Bing’s template ideas. They have still yet to prove if they do what they do better than Google, all they have shown us so far is that they do it prettier.

The question that now needs answering is what will happen to the search as a result of this partnership? Well, according to Reuters, under the deal announced on Wednesday, Microsoft’s Bing search engine will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search technology for Yahoo’s sites, while Yahoo will be responsible for selling premium search ads for both companies.”

So how long has this engagement taken to come to its happy ending?

  • 01/02/2008 – Microsoft makes an offer out of the blue to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion or $31 a share, after two years of rumours of a merger
  • 03/02/2008 – Google lawyers announce the buyout will hurt Web innovation
  • 04/02/2008 – Yahoo’s Jerry Yang lets the employees know that selling to Microsoft is a possibility
  • 11/02/2008 – Yahoo! tells Microsoft ‘where to go’ saying their offer “substantially undervalues” Yahoo!
  • 19/02/2008Bill Gates announces that they’re not interested in raising the offer for the buyout. Yahoo! releases severance plan details that would take effect after the deal and make it more expensive for Microsoft
  • 05/03/2008 – Yahoo! announce and extend deadline for nominating candidates to its board, effectively buying time to come up with an alternative proposal. Rumours emerge that Yahoo are in talks with Google, MySpace and AOL
  • 18/03/2008 – Yahoo! release a very healthy revenue forecast for the following two years – basically telling Microsoft “you see, that’s why you’ve undervalued us!”
  • 05/04/2008Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer gets aggressive and gives Yahoo! a deadline of three weeks to accept the deal on the table or expect Microsoft to start hostile tactics and lower the offer price
  • 09/04/2008 – Yahoo! announces it’ll have a trial run of using Google’s ad platform in place of its own for a bit – Microsoft raise antitrust concerns
  • 26/04/2008 – Microsoft’s three week deadline expires
  • 01/05/2008 – Ballmer announces to its employees that he “won’t go a dime above” what he thinks Yahoo! is worth and is willing to walk away from the deal
  • 03/05/2008 – Microsoft increases its offer to $33 a share, Yang retorts by saying they want $37, Microsoft walks away
  • 15/05/2008 – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn says he’ll try to oust Yahoo’s board at its annual shareholder meeting if it doesn’t reopen talks with Microsoft and ditch plans to team up with Google.
  • 18/05/2008 – The pair get together to have a chat about a more limited deal, however after a month Yahoo announce the talks have stopped
  • 12/06/2008 – Google and Yahoo! officially announce a deal to run Google’s ads alongside Yahoo’s search results and some of its partner sites
  • 21/07/2008 – Icahn takes back his threat in exchange for three seats on Yahoo! board
  • 09/09/2009 – The U.S. Justice Department hires an antitrust litigator to review the pending Yahoo-Google search-advertising partnership.
  • 05/11/2008 – Google gets worried and cancels the partnership to avoid a Justice Department lawsuit. Yang can still see a Microsoft acquisition in the future
  • 17/11/2008 – Yang steps down as CEO for Yahoo!
  • 19/11/2008 – Ballmer washes his hands of the talks and says Microsoft is “done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo!”
  • 05/12/2008 – Microsoft hires ex Yahoo! search executive Qi Li to lead its own online division
  • 13/01/2009 – Yahoo! hires Carol Bartz to replace Yang
  • 10/04/2009 – New reports emerge that Bartz and Ballmer have met about possible deals, including one in which Microsoft would sell advertising on Yahoo’s search pages and Yahoo would manage Microsoft’s display ads.
  • 03/06/2009 – Microsoft dumps Live Search and replaces it with Bing
  • 29/07/2009 – Microsoft, Yahoo! partnership announced

Now we wonder, is this going to be a marriage made in heaven – or can we expect to see the divorce papers come through shortly?

09/23/08
‘Battle-browser Google-actica’ – Google Chrome

The Battle of the Browsers Turns Inter-net-stella

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

It’s been two weeks since the world’s biggest Internet company released its Beta version of a (debatably) brand-spanking-new web browser called Google Chrome. So, now that there’s a potential browser war hotting up like supernovae, we thought we’d have a look at what’s being said about it, and what relevance it might have for web users and web designers.

We’ll also get a little insight about how Google Chrome might affect the popularity of other browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and particularly Mozilla’s Firefox.

First of all however, let’s find out what Google has to say about its minimalist web-browser:

“On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn’t the browser that matters. It’s only a tool to run the important stuff — the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.”

Google Chrome – Minimalistic, Clean and Fresh

google chrome screenshots 300x244 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

At first glance, it’s certainly very fresh and clean. Owing much to the interface of the Norwegian designed Opera browser, incorporating quick image links on opening which show the most frequently viewed websites as a visual web history, Google Chrome should appeal to those who want simplicity when browsing.

Will Firefox Get Its Fingers Burnt?

firefox 3 300x87 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

However, being an open source product, Google Chrome is relying on users to generate additional ‘plugins’ or ‘applications’, similar to those much favoured by users of Mozilla’s Firefox. At this early stage, it’s difficult to imagine where these will sit on the new interface – it will be interesting to see how crisp the browser will look with the addition of such add-ons.

Google already supports Firefox substantially, but many are now wondering if Firefox might lose Google as a major supporter if Google Chrome’s intentions are to muscle in on its ground. Might the ubiquitous Google Toolbar be withdrawn from other browsers and incorporated into Google Chrome? Who knows, but at Landingnet, the feeling is that users who would choose Google Chrome as their default browser would already be using Firefox (happily too) and that for Google Chrome to succeed in its own right, it would need to reconsider its patronage of other browsers. Of course, it may make marketing sense to continue to give the Google Toolbar away – and no doubt the best course of action is or already has been heavily debated deep within Google’s barracks.

Process Per Tab

Perhaps what’s more important to web designers and programmers is the fact that each new tab in Google Chrome will generate its own process. Google wrote that:

“Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

The ‘Process Per Tab’ will allow greater stability to web users, due to its more efficient use of computer memory. There’s nothing more infuriating when browsers crash, and for Internet Marketing companies like Landingnet, our client’s websites are essential to their business – the last thing a web designer or programmer wants after hours of hard work, is for the end product to fail due to poor browsing power. Perhaps then, with Webkit as the rendering engine used to build Google Chrome, web developers can have more confidence that their products will work consistently.

Will Browsers Rise to the Challenge?

There may be some truth in stating that added competition will encourage the other browsers to ‘up their game’. Certainly from Firefox’s point of view, who were the first browser to really popularise tabbed browsing, the ‘Process Per Tab’ built into Google Chrome’s architecture will give it food for thought. What will quite happen over the next few months will no doubt give the industry a better idea of Google’s intentions – and perhaps then, when the first really useful usage figures are known, will the other players respond.

More About Google Chrome

Follow these links to interesting articles about Google Chrome:

PC ADVISER Google Chrome V Firefox & Internet Explorer – Should Microsoft and Mozilla be afraid?

GUARDIAN REVIEW Is there anything original in Google Chrome?

MARKET WATCH Google Chrome gets 2 million US visitors in one week!

GOOGLE BLOG Fresh Take on a Browser

GOOGLE CHROME COMIC BOOK Words by Google, comics adaptation by Scott McCloud

DOWNLOAD GOOGLE CHROME Try Google Chrome yourself – from the Official Google Website

03/10/08
Loading…..”Hurry Up or Cough Up” says Google

Adding to the increasing complexity of the AdWords “Quality Score” algorithm, Google has announced that page loading times will soon become a key factor.

The intention is that sites runing advert-heavy pages will be penalised in an effort to improve the “user experience”. Google claims conversion rates are lower when page loading times are poor, as users abandon the site, a claim supported by many frustrated browsers.

Loading Please Wait

Losers

Flash Sites and Image-Heavy Websites – as Flash sites tend to require more image requests from the server than a typical html site, they may be penalised under the new calculations.

Poorly Hosted Websites – the jury is still out on whether cheaper hosting packages result in slower server responses, but inferior hardware undoubtedly takes its toll.

Winners

Text-Only Sites – we might see retailers using incredibly simple text-only landing pages (or maybe defaulting to the low-graphics accessibility pages?).

Google have not (and will not) release details of how much effect loading times will have on the quality score, for all we know it could be minimal, but Google are generally very commited to providing the best search results for their users. There are several conspiracy theories and there is no doubt that any changes will benefit Google’s profit margins but ultimately those who abide by the rules will be rewarded.