Entries Tagged 'Microsoft' ↓

Bing Lights A Fire Under Google

There’s no secret that Microsoft is trying everything they can to reach Google’s level when it comes to search, while Google is trying everything they can to reach Microsoft’s level in everything else. I don’t think either have come close to taking over the others areas of expertise.

Microsoft’s new “decision engine”, BING, is their latest attempt to attract more search users and hopefully some of the advertising that comes with it. The results, to me, seem almost just like Google’s results, just with a bit more fluff involved.

Usually when Microsoft launches these new attempts, it seems Google doesn’t do much to react…except this time. According to the New York Post, Sergey has jumped in to run a team of the top cats to improve their search engine.

Since I read this story, I’ve been paying closer attention to the Google feed and they are having a lot of “improvements” popping out faster than normal.

Then today I was doing a search and noticed they are labeling listings in their SERP’s that are forums. They are giving the total number of “posts” and total number of “authors“. I actually kind of like this because if you’re looking for help with something like a computer issue, I usually look for forum url’s but you never know what you’ll get until you open it. Now I can find the listings that are busier with the expectation of finding a solution. Here’s a screen shot:

serps-forums

The one thing I haven’t tested yet is when they show a listing that might be page 10 of 200 within a thread. Does it count the number of authors for the entire thread? Or is it just page specific?

Have you tried BING yet? I have to admit it’s kind of nice. Catchy name, results are very similar to Google and while they still have some kinks to work out, I think it has some advantages over Google.

Whether BING does well or not, at least they’re keeping Google from becoming complacent with their search product.

Search Engine Battles – Google vs Yahoo vs MSN

Came across this today and thought I’d share it, just in case you haven’t seen it yet. Search engine battles. . .

Google vs. Yahoo

Yahoo vs. MSN

MSN vs. Google

The Showdown of Search and Social

Microsoft Live Search, the third most used search engine after Google and Yahoo with less than a 10% market share of online searches usually doesn’t come up in the conversation too often, but it made an interesting ripple last week when it was incorporated in the social search results of the immensely popular social networking site Facebook.  This got me thinking about who stands to benefit more from this action,  Facebook or Microsoft?  While I’m sure both sides stand to benefit; Microsoft can potentially increase the use of Live Search by tapping into the social networks millions of users and Facebook adds yet another functionality to their site.  However upon reflection I believe the convergence of Search and Social is clearly more important towards the Social Network, which has yet to establish its ability to effectively monetize through ad revenue the same way Search Engines have successfully done.

In the last two years Facebook has made continual changes in their advertising platform, they call “Social Ads”, hoping to increase their ad revenue, which like many other websites is their primary method of income. The selling point for these ads is the ability to target market to very specific audiences based on the information in user profiles (location, interest, hobbies, age, gender, religion, favorite music, books, movies, etc).  They have also implemented several free tools such as Facebook Pages to help companies build brands on Facebook, pushing companies to promote these pages through paid Social Ads.  Yet among Marketers the success of Pages and Social Ads is often a matter of controversy on whether or not advertising on Facebook yield desired results.  They have ad models for both PPC and CPI, but the results of these ads have been abysmal when compared to the results of attainable through Search Engine Marketing.

I think there are many factors involved in Facebook’s lack luster income but most involve the fundamental difference between Social Networks and Search Engines.  Information in someone’s profile is passive in that a person doesn’t input that data hoping to receive ads for it, they put it there for their friends to see which is the cornerstone of social networks.  Compare this to a search query in which a user is actively seeking information for a very specific topic of their choice at that specific moment in time.  I’m not saying that Social Marketing is a waste of time, but I think it has yet to find it’s rhythm and believe me they are searching for that rhythm as we speak. There is much potential for Social Marketing, I believe that with the right strategy companies can engage their users in new and beneficial ways.

This comparison between the core products of Google and Facebook (search and social networks) is important because the two companies in some respects seem headed for a showdown with competing products such as Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect.  Both companies are attempting to spread their influence to all corners of the net, with the advantage clearly to Google which has already established their dominance is so many areas, not to mention making a ton of money in the process.  The underdog, Facebook admits to being focused on growth not income right now, and with their partnership with Live Search they are treading further into Google’s territory.  As both companies vie for your time online, I predict we will see many interesting developments and an increasing convergence of search and social among all parties.

Ever Looked at a Price Tag and Take a Step Back

It’s called “Sticker Shock“. When you look at something and instantly realize that what you’re looking at buying does not meet the price you’re looking at on the price tag. According to Wikipedia, the term sticker shock came from the high price of automobiles in the 70′s and 80′s.

Imagine telling someone you’ll pay $45 BILLION for something. This is what Microsoft told Yahoo in an unsolicited letter.

Under our proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft’s closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide each Yahoo shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo common shares will be exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our proposal is not subject to any financing condition. Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever financial measure you use – EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow, net income, or analyst target prices – this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders…

Microsoft’s consistent belief has been that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our customers…

We would value the opportunity to further discuss with you how to optimize the integration of our respective businesses to create a leading global technology company with exceptional display and search advertising capabilities. You should also be aware that we intend to offer significant retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines…

Due to the importance of these discussions and the value represented by our proposal, we expect the Yahoo Board to engage in a full review of our proposal.

The reactions are mixed with some saying Microsoft is buying a big bag and others saying it is a smart move by the software giant, saying the online advertising sales is where Microsoft lacks.

I think the interesting fact here is, Bill Gates can write a check for $45 billion and still have $14 billion left over. “Yahoooooooo!”