Yahoo Drops Google

Financial Times:

Yahoo on Wednesday raised the stakes in the internet search wars as it abandoned Google in favour of using an in-house search engine on its own web sites.

With Microsoft waiting in the wings to launch a rival technology of its own, the move sets up a three-way struggle that will challenge Google’s recent dominance of internet searching.

The coming battle reflects the emergence of search as the internet’s “killer application” since the rise of Google. With more people using a search engine as the starting point whenever they go online, whether to find information or products to buy, control of search has become central to the ambitions of all three companies.

Yahoo first signalled its intent to challenge Google last year when it bought Inktomi, a company which enjoyed an early technology lead but fell on hard times after the dotcom bust. It had already indicated that it planned to replace Google as the search service used by visitors to the Yahoo portal sometime early this year.

The race to catch Google comes as the internet upstart continues to strengthen its grip on internet searching. Last December, half of all people in the US who used a search engine visited Google at learst once, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a research firm. By contrast, 29 per cent visited Yahoo during the month, while 30 per cent went to Microsoft’s MSN service and 15 per cent visited AOL.

Google’s dominance is even greater than these numbers suggest. Its search engine carried out all the searches on AOL and, until now, Yahoo. Searches on MSN, meanwhile, are powered by Yahoo’s search engine, though that realationship is also expected to end once Microsoft perfects its own technology.

Jeff Weiner, head of search at Yahoo, said that the decision to switch on the company’s new search engine came after internal tests showed the quality of its results were better than those of rivals in terms of relevance, comprehensiveness and timeliness.


FILED UNDER: Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    Not too surprising, since Yahoo bought Inktomi last year. Now, they wouldn’ve buy a search engine company and not use its technology.

  2. McGehee says:

    Yahoo’s problem hasn’t been in its search service — well, not entirely. I don’t remember the last time I tried to use it as a search engine, and I almost never use it as a directory to peruse anymore either. Google is just too good.

    But Yahoo’s real screwups have been in its attempts to branch out. My wife has tried repeatedly to use YahooGroups for various purposes, and in all but one instance the attempt failed miserably because people weren’t willing to learn the convoluted steps necessary to make worthwhile use of it. The one maybe-success took off for a week or two but has been silent since then — one participant had already offered to set up an alternative on another service where she was already a paying member…

    When people would rather use a paid service over your free service, you’re doing something very wrong. And I have a whole lot more stories about this outfit.

  3. Jalal Abu Jarhead says:

    BigFire said:
    Now, they wouldn’ve buy a search engine company and not use its technology.

    You mean kinda like AOL buying Netscape? And Mirabilis?

    McGehee, I’ve had a different experience with Yahoo! Groups, for whatever it’s worth. I belong to ten different groups, half of which are fairly active, and two of them should probably just go away. It works for some folks, apparently.

  4. MommaBear says:

    MB prefers a search engine that doesn’t go for the latest teeny-bopper craze, doesn’t jam 20 gazillion advertisers at you, and actually searches out, finds, and organizes the information in a logical fashion !! BTW, that is Vivisimo, found at:

    Just HAD to put in a plug for MB’s absolute fav!

    [ btw…MB didn’t get a single benny from plugging that, either ]