Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who's Serious About Search...

I was chatting with someone from Yahoo last night and I mentioned that while I use Yahoo as my home page and e-mail I almost always search on Google. I never gave it much thought but a reason must exist for this to be true. I remember a LONG time ago Google had better search results and that's why I used it. I suspect that little difference exists now. So, why?

My theory is that it has little to do with the search itself and everything to do with two things:

1) Accessibility - By far the biggest reason I use Google is because it is just flat out the easiest search to get to. It is in my tool bar on both safari and firefox on my desk and in my phone. Yes I know that the others are in there too but... Does anyone actually change from the default?

If Yahoo and others are serious about search how can they hand this slot that is SO important to Google?

A second part of accessibility is more subtle. Go to and On Google's site search is what you see. It is the only thing on the page aside from some fine print. This screams "I care about search". On Yahoo's site the page is so busy you barely notice search.

2) Marketing - Google managed to get people to refer to searching as Googling! Need I say more. Does anyone even know of another name for a Band-Aid?

A couple of side points. I like yahoo's home page (old not new) a lot. I actually like yahoo's e-mail better than Googles. It is entirely possible that they have intentionally taken a more balanced approach to the web and not focused on being number one in search. I have no idea. But... if someone wants to take on Google in a serious way, be RIGHT THERE when I want you. On my IPhone, on my desktop, in my browser. I don't "think" about search. It's a tool and I mostly grab the one near my hand that fits the general problem I'm trying to solve.


Anonymous said...

I remember a LONG time ago Google had better search results and that's why I used it. I suspect that little difference exists now.

I'm not so sure I'd agree with that suspicion. There's no question that Google pours more resources into quality of search results than Yahoo, and probably has a more potent brain trust working on the problem as well. So it stands to reason that they probably still have better search results than Yahoo. I'd be hard-pressed to believe otherwise without some empirical data that compares the two.

Steve Harris said...

I did some pretty unscientific compares and they seemed to be pretty much the same. Plus Yahoo had a cool dynamic auto-complete thing that the google home page didn't have. That said, you might be completely right ;-)

Anonymous said...

Every so often I decide that I don't like Google's dominance of the web and that I should try to support one of the other search engines.

So I make Yahoo or MSN my default search engine. It takes about two or three searches for me to give up in frustration and go back to Google.