Russian top search engine, Yandex, which was founded in 1997, has made an outstanding progress in recent years. Despite constantly growing competition from both the local Rambler and the “global” Google, it has succeeded to increase its market share in 2010. According to Yandex report, for the first time in four years the engine’s share of the Russian search market exceeded 60 percent, reaching the 64% mark. Yandex has also launched its English version, officially “going global”, possibly intending to fight Google at its own ground.
Despite speculations about going public in 2008, Yandex cancelled the move at the last minute – possibly due to fluctuating economic conditions in both Russia, the US and Europe. Thus, the company is still privately owned, with about 24% being owned by the founders and workers (another 10% held by former employees) and over 60% owned by various funds (including the initial major investor, ruNet Holdings).
After reporting a year-to-year increase of 43% in revenue, which was over 400 million dollars, the company now plans to attract more investors. The IPO (initial public offering) is expected to take place in the early summer and will be managed by Morgan Stanley and the Deutsche Bank. According to various reports, Yandex’s target is raising 1 billion dollars with this move.
Twitter has been here for over five years, but it has become a real “hit” only recently. During the last Superbowl game, a new record for number of over 4000 tweets-per-second was recorded, emphasizing the usefulness of this tool when you want to share your thoughts/impressions/ideas/anything else quickly.
But maybe the founders/owners of twitter have finally decided to make some serious profit from the almost-two-hundred-million registered users? According to some unofficial reports, Twitter had talks with both Google and FaceBook about a potential deal – that is the buyout of Twitter, of course.
While the talks are, reportedly, in the very early stages and seem more like a “what-if” scenario for Twitter, the figures mentioned show that the micro-blogging site’s value went up considerably. It is now estimated about $10 billion, opposed to about $3.7 billion figure, reported about a year ago.
An interesting is that the two “potential buyers” are Google and Facebook. Not Yahoo, not Microsoft… With Google being a runaway leader in the search industry niche and FaceBook establishing itself as an undisputed number one social media , blogging (and micro-blogging) seems like a field that neither of the two has a real advantage. So, will Twitter serve as a neutral ground for a decisive encounter between the two giants? I guess it will take several months, and maybe years until we get a conclusive answer to this question…
How big should you be to successfully fight Google and beat it? Pretty big probably. Far bigger than blekko.com and DuckDuckGo. Even being a multibillion company, such as Microsoft, is not enough – Bing is still behind in the SE battle. Having the law in your hands, however, might help. Especially, if you are the law. Especially in China.
Chinese government has a very strict policy considering the internet, and censorship of information is a major part of it. Back in 2006, Google has agreed to censor the results, despite the critics – a footstep on the Chinese soil was too big to give up at the time. However, when issues arouse in Jan 2010, with the renowned “hacking human right accounts” accusation, they stopped the censorship. And then the government stopped them. Since January 2010 nobody can access Google from inside China (Honk Kong is one exception with the British influence sealing certain autonomy even under Chinese rule). Other options, such as Baidu, who was local Search Engine market leader even when Google was there, or the recently launched goso.cn are, of course, available.
After one year without the about-500-million Chinese users, it seems Google is willing to at least negotiate. According to Google’s Patrick Pichette, the company is going to re-enter the Chinese market soon, opening new horizons to the people of China. The question, of course, remains about the compromises that have to be reached with the Chinese government. Currently, it seems that the communists have the upper hand, as Google needs China more than China needs Google…
The “Slash-the-web” engine is trying to gain ground on its bigger rivals, Google and Bing. The mark of thirty million queries was passed in January – a decent accomplishment for Blekko, launched in November 2010. Additionally, over 100K new slashtags were created by users and editors. If you are not familiar with this term, I would definitely recommend visiting Blekko.com and checking out their concept of bringing the most relevant results for the specific user.
Fighting Spam is the trend of today, and Blekko’s “spam clock”, introduced about a month ago, was another trigger for this trend. Next they announced removing several “low quality” websites from the search results (including the quite popular eHow and Expert-Exchange) before ten days, stating that this “black list” will grow.
Other recent Blekko activity included launching an iPhone and Android app, pretty similar to the desktop version and offering almost all of its features, and integrating Facebook “Likes” into its results. A partnership with DuckDuckGo can be another step to counter Google, combating it out of the “spam” field. Of course, there is a long, long way to go, but for now the key is probably staying in the news and adding new features.
Twitter has mad a strong progress in the recent years. It has been a useful tool both for fun and, of course, business. Respectable companies are tweeting, telling their followers about company news, promotions etc. It is only a matter of time for world’s most popular the micro-blogging platform to reach 200M registered users – the current figure being about 175 Million. People are sharing their thought and ideas using Twitter at astonishing rate, reportedly over 65M tweets per day.
Notably, according to recent research, only 50% of the tweets are in English. It seems that Twitter decided to carry on its success in the Asian market as Japanese is the second popular tweeting language and Malay is fourth with Portuguese being third due to the tool’s extreme popularity in Brazil. However, instead of addressing the challenging Chinese market, Twitter skippers have picked Korean as the seventh supported language (don’t confuse with the messages language, which can be almost anything, form Tamil to Hebrew and Arabic) in addition to the existing English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
The decision is based on the amazing growth rate of South Korean Twitter users (almost ten times in 2010) and the country being relatively advanced in technological terms. The relevant iPhone app and Twitter mobile for Android in Korean have also been launched, making tweeting easier for the South Koreans.
When “the internet” was introduced, its main purpose – and the idea behind it – was to allow educational and research institutions to share data. That was back in the 1980s. Of course, since then internet has passed several phases. Globalization and technology have joined forces to make the WWW a must-have feature for almost every household. In the start of the 21st century the internet was mainy about reading and gathering information. Nowadays, it is mostly about sharing. Facebook success is adorable, however it is the social network concept that made it possible – of course, it was somewhat altered and some even would say reinvented by Mark Zuckerberg and Co. to speed up the growth.
Anyway, there are many others that wish to exploit this approach. The Russian “Vkontakte” (connected), Chinese-oriented “QZone”, Orkut (owned by Google and extremely popular in Brazil and India) are just a few of the social networking websites. With local social networks already present, the next step, it seems, is to create a more “targeted” communities for those who have specific common interest.
SolaMaps, launched recently by Australia-based Stewe Edwing and his fellow green energy enthusiasts is one such an example. The idea of the network is to connect solar energy users all over the world, enabling them to share tips, ideas and experience with one another. By attracting more and more users, the site founders also hope to increase the global awareness of environmental issues. “You Don’t Need A Solar System To Join the SolaMaps Action!” the website slogan states. All you need is a passion for renewable energy.
Have you ever heard about KidRocket, Konqueror or Amaya? I bet you didn’t. What about Safari and Opera? Sounds more familiar, right? And Google Chrome? Is there anybody who did NOT hear about Google’s web browser? Probably not.
Launched slightly over two(!) years ago – compare that to 14-yeard old Internet Explorer and 7-year old Mozilla Firefox – Google Chrome is gaining ground rapidly, at the rate of about 5% a year. Reportedly it is now the choice of over 15% of internet users. And the good news for the browser is that it is not only attracts IE users (the world most popular web browser is constantly losing popularity as new search engines are emerging all the time, and users do tend to “try something new”), but FF followers as well. During 2010, the Mozilla browser lost about 4% of US market share – mostly to Google Chrome.
While only a fraction of internet users actually utilize more than 20% of browser capabilities and features, the competition is mostly about two things – GUI and advertising. Google Chrome is pretty successful in both. The tabbed layout was adopted successfully (later than FF, earlier than IE) and the marketing efforts are enormous. Advertising is done both on and of the internet, with buses carrying the “part of your life – part of your browser” theme in addition to endless promotional banners al over the web.
Whether it is superior to others or not, Google Chrome is definitely making a huge progress. Will Chrome take over and dominate, as did Google? I doubt it. Will it compete and maybe become the most popular web browser in the future? Quite possible.
Everybody knows that Yahoo US has teamed up with Bing in order to fight Google in the North American search market. In other parts of the world, however, strange things are happening.
Since the start of 2011, Yahoo and Bing are also a joint force in Australia, Mexico and Brazil. In the UK, however, the deal has not been sealed yet. And although people are saying that it is only a matter of time, noticing that certain Yahoo search results look identical to Bing and speculating about “two different indexes”, it is yet to be seen whether Yahoo UK will be powered by Bing in the end. Why not, anyway? Where will Yahoo go? To Google? Well, yes!
Yahoo! Japan, for example, has made a partnership with Google. The deal (Google US will supply the technology for Yahoo! Japan) was recently approved by the FTC (Fair Trade Commission) – a body responsible for preventing monopolization of the markets. And although the ratification is not permanent, and FTC stated they will monitor the activity of the combined team closely, it was a major hit for both Microsoft and local search engines. Yahoo US was not very happy either, but was unable to stop the move, as it only own about 30% of Yahoo! Japan.
Yahoo! had several troubles in the recent years. Geocities was shut down, as were several other features. And with over half a thousand workers fired in the end of 2010, people started asking questions about the future of a former search industry leader (how long ago was that?) and its satellite products.
Flickr, on the other hand, is a popular service, and, contrary to so many other projects and applications launched by Yahoo! and Google, generates certain profit. However, according to some general evaluation, this profit is not so high, to say the least. Thomas Hawk estimated 50 million per year, which is, of course, a tiny income for a corporation of the size of Yahoo. This led to speculations about the possibility of yet another cut by Yahoo! – this time of the beloved photo-sharing service.
Well, do not worry yet, Flickr fans. Those rumors were refuted by both Flickr Cal Henderson (who also commented that the figure of 50M is incorrect, since Flickr makes money via advertising, and not only by selling Pro accounts, as was presented in the Hawk’s estimation) and Blake Irving, Yahoo Product Chief. When asked in a recent twitter chat about Yahoo! commitment to Flickr, Irving enthusiastically tweeted “Hell yes we are!”, mentioning Flickr product and team, its strategy and profitability.
It has only been several months since Google had announced and completed the “New Adsense” – a redesign of the familiar GUI, adding several features to impress the users. And here it is – they are already adding more attributes to the popular money-making feature.
According to recent report, there will be now more things you could do in your Google Adsense account, such as creating and editing channels in Adsense for Games and Adsense for Video, blocking specific products by names and view the reports by page, and not only by unit.
There have also been some “renames” – the HTML is now “rich media” and Dynamic Images are called “Animated Images”. All those (as well as text, image and Flash) are included in the performance reports as “Ad types”. In addition, “Ad Requests” is the term that is now used instead of “Unit Impressions”, counting each time the request to show the ad is sent by the website towards Google service.
Google hopes these updates will be beneficial to Adsense users, making the popular “monetize you website” option preferable over Affiliate marketing, specific client banners and other possibilities.now