Search engines tremble

No week without the big four search engines movements and trembles.

Ask Jeeves (owner of and search Web sites, algorithmic search engine technology Teoma, AJkids, and Bloglines, the Excite, iWon, MySearch, MyWay, and MyWebSearch properties, MaxOnline online advertising network, and Fun Web Products adware purveyor) was just bought by IAC/InterActiveCorp for an estimated $1.85 billion all-stock deal, less the cash and equivalents. IAC/InterActiveCorp, who already owns huge and well known on-line brands as CitySearch, Entertainment Publications, Evite, Home Shopping Network, LendingTree,, Zero Degrees,,, and Ticketmaster, plans to grow Ask Jeeves by placing a search bar on Web pages of IAC’s other sites that attract 44 million unique visitors, and expects many of them to use the Ask Jeeves search bar instead of going to another site to conduct a search, such as Google.

Meanwhile MSN unveiled its adCenter and a beta version of its MSN Shopping Beta.Yahoo is not loosing time and aquires the web-based photo sharing company Flickr well recognised service which allows its users to upload digital photos from computers and camera phones and accumulate them into albums that can be posted on blogs and easily shared with other users. Yahoo also announced that starting April it will giving in the mail storage arms race and will offer 1 gigabyte of mail to its users to keep up with Google’s offering.

With all its competitors moving big, Google’s only news last week is the dropping France Presse news agency from its Google News Service after the frech sue them over pulling together photos and story excerpts from its website.

Search is not enough

The so called search engines war, is not a search engine war anymore. The war was taken further to advertising, blogging, news and so on. Whatever service from any of the three major competitors in the field, is proved succesfull or potentially succesfull, is taken over by the other two. There was Bloggers from Google. Then just like this there was MSN Spaces from Microsoft (which actually didn’t prove to make too much buzz around). Now, Yahoo! doesn’t like to be left behind, and start teasing us about their future blogsphere presence: Yahoo! 360°. The new blogging service promise to integrate most of Yahoo! functionalities: photos, LAUNCHcast station, Yahoo!Messenger, probably MyYahoo and most likely the very rumored Yahoo!’s text ad system designed to compete with the succesfull Google AdSense.

Talking about AdSense and contextual ads, Microsoft’s Internet group is developing a pay-per-click ad-bidding system that pairs search results with sponsored text messages from advertisers called adCenter. Meanwhile, Google seems to prepare for the two new major competitors in the marketplace and is revising its AdSense policy, adding some small (for now) changes to it out of which the most important are:

  • new ad formats – AdLinks
  • allowing user to disclose their incomes generated by the program (what better promotion Google needs than the success stories that, I think, will invade the web after this change in policy)
  • updated payment options – offer checks to be sent in local currencies to 35 countries and Electronic Funds Transfer to 15 countries

I am looking forward to see how things will move from now on since AskJeeves, the fourth major player in this game, is not making too many moves lately.