Feeds

Google touts stalking service

While Yahoo! goes it alone

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The war between Yahoo! and Google has intensified, as Yahoo! introduced more of its own search engine technology for its US site yesterday.

The portal has used Google's search for the past four years, but began to blend-in its own listings eighteen months ago. Google responded by sending co-founder Sergey Brin on a rare press tour, which is as uncommon a sight as Dick Cheney leaving his bunker.

The two web giants have a commercial relationship as complex as their technical relationship: but to oversimplify the situation somewhat, Yahoo! decided that it could do as good a job without paying Google.

With its revamped search tool, Yahoo! has followed Google's winning formula closely, but indexes more of each web page than Google and returns, by default, twenty entries. Google has responded by touting an increased image database, and boasting of five new tweaks to its algorithm.

It's too early to say how good the Yahoo! search really is, but for Yahoo! it may be good enough. It's as clean and fast as Google, and the results look remarkably similar. Both are wrestling with a formula that was appropriate for the Web in 1998 but is now prone to manipulation and pollution.

Trackback

For example, running the query "Mac OS X discussion" that so severely tripped up Google last year, Yahoo! returns just three "trackbacks" in the first 20 results, while Google returns six in the first ten. (The software authors responsible for trackbacks have corrected the problem in TypePad, and bloggers are advised to keep trackbacks inline.) So Yahoo! appears to take such problems more seriously than Google, although it's wise to wait several weeks before drawing any firm conclusions.

The much-cited "search engine business" is trivial in comparison to the much more significant war between the two over classified text advertisements, which sees Yahoo!'s Overture pitted against Google's Adwords and Adsense programs.

As Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan noted here, Yahoo! paid Google a mere $7.1m in 2001. But as advertising brokers, the pair are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, which has enabled Google's rapid and apparently chaotic growth over the twelve months.

We know where you live

But Google is fighting back to preserve its reputation as the world's favorite search engine. Google already performs a reverse lookup of US telephone numbers, and with one click, can take you to a map of the subscriber's house. Describing the enhanced features, Google co-founder Sergey Brin explained,

"It helps, for example, if you're searching for a person like your next-door neighbor, you may get no result," said Brin this week. "Now you'll get one."

We've always found knocking on your next-door neighbor's door with a bowl of sugar is a terrific way to make friends. However, for the sad, the lonely and for potential stalkers everywhere, this could be a boon.

Remember: it's a feature, not a bug. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.