Idea: Does Google Own the Search?

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Tim O'Reilly, Mike Arrington and a lot of other people are discussing the latest Microsoft moves in the search market. Some are believing Google has won this battle, at least for now.

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Should Microsoft and Yahoo stop fighting for the search market and just leave it in Google's hands?

Microsoft is dropping the Live Book Search, but launches Live Search Cashback. Where does Microsoft want to be positioned in the search market?


This whole discussion started when Tim O'Reilly has published in a blog post the following advice:

my advice to Yahoo!: continue with your plan to outsource search to Google, just like you did before 2002, and plow those increased profits and reduced costs into your own innovation, strengthening the areas where you are #1, exploring new ideas that will make YOUR users insanely happy, and generally focusing on what makes Yahoo! great, rather than on what doesn't. That is, unless Microsoft makes you so good a deal for your search assets that you just can't say no. But either way, let yourself be quit of the destructive competition and focus on adding real value for your users.

My advice to Microsoft: outsource your search to Google too!

In reply, Mike Arrington is raising quite a few good points

  • We are just getting started in search.
    There are so many areas on search that remain to be conquered. Semantic search. Real language/AI search. The deep web. Media search.
  • Search monopoly and a healthy internet are mutually exclusive.
  • [...] the CPC (cost per click) model is flawed, but in Google’s favor because it puts fraud risk inefficiently on the advertisers, who have no way of controlling it at the search engine level. CPA (cost per action) models work much better, but Google has done little more than test them.

Not far ago, I was also expressing my concerns related to video content search, even if there are quite a few contenders on this market.

In the following comments and new Tim's post, both have finally agreed that Tim's original advise was not about leaving Google approach to search unchallenged, but rather something that sounds more like Seth Godin's Purple Cow: instead of playing the catch up role, Microsoft and Yahoo should be investing their money and energy into researching something new, worthy and remarkable.

I also think that Tim O'Reilly opinions were triggered by the Microsoft's attempts to monetize search through the introduction of Microsoft Live Search Cashback, a new service on which the opinions are quite disputed right now.

However, there are signs that Microsoft is starting to look differently at the search market, as it has currently dropped the Live Search Books project (which was a reaction to Google's Book Search).