The battle between FaceBook and Google mightbe overrated, but in terms of innovation, both companies are definitely doing their best. In the “50 Most Innovative Companies of 2011” list, published by Fastcompany Magazine, Facebook, the leader in 2010 is placed third (“For 600 million users, despite Hollywood”).
Notably, one place ahead of the world’s largest social network is the micro-blogging website Twitter (“For five years of explosive growth that have redefined communication”). 200 million users mark is certainly not far away.
At the very top, placed first, is Apple (“For dominating the business landscape, in 101 ways”). iPad is probably the reason they went two places up from last-years third position.
And what about Google? And Microsoft? Don’t worry, both are there. Google is sixth (“For instantly upgrading the search experience”) – one place behind Groupon (5), whose courage is also admitted (“For reinvigorating retail — and turning down $6 billion”). Microsoft is only 37th – but still 9 places up from last year. Bing, and Win Phone OS 7 are both noted as good products, but it is the hand-free Kinect that impressed Fastcompany, “turning the human body into a game controller”.
Another notable inclusion is LinkedIn (“For turning 90 million members into the world’s most useful career database”) and Russian search engine Yandex (26) that is given credit for successfully battling Google in the Russian search market niche and for various complex algorithms. The list, of course, includes off-line companies, such as Nissan(4, “For creating the Leaf, the first mass- market all- electric car”), Trader Joe’s (11, for “For vaulting past Whole Foods to become America’s favorite organic grocer) and Snohetta (35, “For design that’s both social and beautiful”).
Woke up this morning thinking further about my statement yesterday that Microsoft should by Twitter. I really think that if Google does not buy Twitter and it lands in the hands of Microsoft, it could potentially become a great equalizer. Bing’s real time search results would be exclusive and therefore at the very least very different from Google. Bing needs to do something, it is sort of floundering as many companies do when they are not really committed to being the best.
On the other hand if Facebook buys Twitter, Google has a much bigger problem, potential elimination from real time search. Facebook is the number one visited website in the world. Now this is great, but their problem is, their visitors are not interested in buying anything, they do not click on ads, they do not convert into $$, and this is becoming a problem for the future of Facebook. It is sort of the old school internet business model on steroids: build it,make it cool and free, get traffic, and with traffic all your problems will be solved. Now if your roll Twitter into Facebook, you do not get any better profit generation, but now you hold all the cards in real time search. Facebook could place extraordinary value on this real time data, and begin to charge search engines massive amounts of fees to access their websites and data. If the search engines do not agree to pay these outrageous fees, then Facebook can begin to build their own search engine. Even if their algorithm was not very robust to begin, with having the real time data from Facebook and Twitter would insure that they provide phenomenal real time information (that would not be found anywhere else) and can use this real-time data VERY effectively. It is a fact that no one is really Tweeting or Facebooking about the spamming Viagra website they found on page one of Google, nor the insurance website they found in BING. Therefore Facebook would be able to quickly put a serious reduction on spam, create a place in search, and provide themselves with very bright future for profitability and a serious chunk of what Google and BING currently have.
As an internet marketing professional, I really do not care who does what. I do not own the game, just play by the rules set forth by people far smarter and wealthier than I. I must say though, I really like Twitter in the hands of Facebook or Microsoft. Lets see what Google is really made of….
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.
Ask.com and Bing are very anxious to prove the world they can beat Google. Even in minor things, like Image Search that Bing was enhancing constantly over last several month. Or in a Search Engine Jeopardy contest, managed by Stephen Wolfram. Well, it seems Google competitors still have some work to do, as the Search Industry leader was victorious once again.
The SE Jeopardy consisted of Jeopardy questions randomly selected form a database of around 200000 that were fed into the search queries of various engines. The developers then looked at the number of correct answers that appeared in the search results page and also at the number of correct answers that were included in the page that search engines presented as the top result.
The results were as follows:
Percentage of correct answers appearing somewhere on the first page: Google – 69%; Ask.com – 68%, Bing – 63%, Yandex – 62%, Blekko – 58%, Wikipedia – 23%.
Percentage of correct answers appearing in the top result of the page: Google – 66%; Bing – 65%, Yandex – 58%, Ask.com – 51%, Blekko – 40%, Wikipedia – 29%.
Obviously Wikipedia didn’t stand too much chance, as it was only one website competing against “the whole internet”. Still, it must be noted that only about one-third of Jeopardy answers are already in Wikipedia…
As to Search Engines – Google has beaten the competition, although the margins are not that big. But based on these results, Ask and Blekko have to do a better job of listing the most relevant link at the top (see how their percentage dropped when they looked into the first document. And Bing is “almost there” – but still a fraction behind Google.
Yandex numbers were very impressive, as it is basically a local Russian search engine. If the test has been done in Russian (or at least, based on Russian Jeoprdy Analogue, “Svoya Igra”, which includes fewer questions about American culture and history) Yandex would probably beat Google – exactly as it does in the Russian Search Engine market.
In summary, nobody can beat Google in providing relevant information. Not just yet. So, when you want to know “What is” something – don’t ask and don’t bing. Google it!
It seems that Bing decided to combat Google first of all in the Images section. Merely a month after introducing its Image Categorization Panel, Bing now applies a new look to the Bing Image Search page.
It is now showing the 20 top most searched images of the day – people, event, places, animals etc. Yesterday, the squirrel appreciation day brought “Cute Squirrel” to the top of the list. Today, the “National Geographic Photo Contest” occupies the number one Bing Image Search spot, with “Todd Palin” (6) beats “Sasha Obama” (10) and “Chelsea Clinton Wedding”.
Of course, once the search is done the top list disappears – but it can be easily retrieved via the “Browse top image searches” link just below the categorized search tabs bar.
The option is currently available in US, Australia and Canada Bing websites.
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.
After Google had announced its intention to acquire the renowned flight data provider ITA (the offer stands, reportedly, at 700 million USD), several serious questions arouse. Wouldn’t it be too much a step towards monopoly? What are the benefits for the customers? Why, the hell, Google is buying ITA at all?
Well, the answer to the last question is pretty obvious. In recent years, Google seems to enter every niche available in the market. Long gone are the times when Google was just a search engine. Google maps, Google news, Google Sketch-up – more and more services are provided by the enterprise and some people are already asking – is Google a Search Engine or your ultimate competitor?
However, the Google ITA offer has now encountered a serious opposition itself. A group of businesses, namely the Fairsearch.org, have gathered together in order to prevent the deal. With ITA serving about two thirds of airline ticketing and satellite websites, the ultimate “danger” – according to the Fairsearch claim – is that Google will eventually start selling tickets directly, while it has a control of data flow towards potential competitors.
Google, of course, claims that the intention is purely to improve the service, making flight data offered by Google more reliable and continuing to redirect the searchers to other websites that offer flight tickets.
With the consequences of this case remain to be seen , one thing is clear – more and more businesses (including the giants like Microsoft and Expedia) are concerned with Google taking over.
Bing has introduced a new feature for the Bing Image Search. It is called “Instant Answer” and is, actually, a small bar of “tabs” that appears just below the search term box. Each tab suggests a more “specific” query, being especially helpful in the case of ambiguous search terms.
For example, when you type “heat”as the Bing Image search term, the “Instant Answer” will suggest narrowing your search to “Miami Heat”, “Heat Energy”, “Heat Wave” etc. The term “star” will feature “shortcut tabs” for filtering images of “Patrick Star”, “Star wars”, “Star of David” and more.
This feature resembles the infamous “related searches” suggestions for web search and is useful in saving our time, as we do not need to retype the whole query, using a simple click of the mouse instead. “Instant Answer” is, however, currently only available for the US Bing website.