Yahoo Drops Google
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.