You know it's big when it's on the evening national news. Recently as I was watching our national news, a story came on about Yahoo and Google and how there is a war brewing between the two for supremacy on the web. The way the story was presented, you were sure that when the dust settled, one of the two would no longer be in existence.
So that got me thinking, is this going to be that big? Is it possible that one of these two internet powerhouses could disappear? I think not.
In the end, Yahoo and Google are different. They have different markets and different audiences. Yahoo is the "one stop shop" for the web. You can get your news and sports headlines, meet people, chat, email and yes even search.
Google on the other hand is primarily search. You can't chat to anyone on a Google product, nor can you use a Google email address to send funny pictures and jokes to friends and family. You use Google to search plain and simple. Sure they have shopping and news, but that's all built around search.
So do I think there' is going to be this incredible online battle? I don't think so.
Consider how Google started - they won over the "techies" - those people who used the web for more than email and instant messaging. They won them over by having one product - search. That was all they did but they did it extremely well.
Google has really only become popular with the masses in the last 12 to 18 months. The general population never really heard about Google (unless they were referred there by their techie family member) until the casts of popular TV shows said they "Googled" someone.
By now you are saying, "but Yahoo! is building their own search engine and they've had a year to work on the algorithms." This is true. They did finalize the purchase of Inktomi last March which would have given them a year to develop the algorithms they would need to compete with Google. But it's going to take more than that to win over people from Google. Especially since Googling is the "in" thing to do.
So do I see a battle brewing for internet supremacy between Google and Yahoo! No. They are just too different.
I do, however, see a battle brewing between Yahoo! and MSN. This is probably a year away yet, but Microsoft has planned to launch its search by the end of the year.
Google, I think, will remain. Maybe not as it is today (actually it will probably be totally different this time next year. That's my one and only prediction for this year). But its hold on the search market should remain constant well into next year.
Once MSN search starts proving itself, combined with the awesome marketing machine that is Microsoft, you might see the Google (and Yahoo!) market share begin to crumble. But as I said, that is likely a year away.
January 26, 2004