About Google “Openness”

Google’s main product, its search engine, is still a very, very closed platform. If a developer wants to innovate off of Google’s search, they currently have two options the AJAX search API and Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) — both of which have tremendous limitations. The AJAX API limits results to just 8, and really just keeps trying to drive users back to Google’s properties. For CSE, the terms are quite limiting and only let you display Google ads on the results page

I’ve been saying for a while that Google is no more open when it comes to its key products than Apple is. When Apple’s competitors beat the ” open” drum, it’s BS. Most of the tech press don’t care—they just want a story to write—but it’s nice to see some people have no problem stating it clearly.

BP buys Google, Yahoo search words to keep people away from real news on Gulf oil spill disaster

BP spokesman Toby Odone confirmed to ABC News that the oil giant had in fact bought internet search terms. So now when someone searches the words ‘oil spill’,  on the internet, the top link will re-direct  them to BP’s official company website.

Yet another reason to use Bing. Do no evil, my ass. The article didn’t mention Bing, but I tried it and, in the US at least, all three search engines bring up BP’s link first for “oil spill”.

Five Reasons To Be Concerned About Google

Unfortunately, much of what is awesome about Google also makes them increasingly terrifying with each passing day

Though none of these points is new, given how few people seem to know them they bear repeating. It’s a shame so many people—and, unfortunately, tech pundits—will fawn all over free stuff without ever considering where the money’s coming from, and what’s being done to get it.

I’m not predicting doom, or suggesting we all run screaming into the night, I’m just saying that when the front-facing (i.e., consumer) portion of a corporation is free, but we know that corporation is making billions and trading stock at $475 a share, we should concern ourselves with the source. This isn’t some paranoid conspiracy, to me it’s just common sense. No one is filling Google’s coffers because they give away stuff.

Google admits Microsoft’s Bing was right [U]

The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help focus their query.

Good for Google, though it was obvious search ceased to be a mere numbers game years ago. Bing understood this, and helped you deal with thousands (or millions) of hits. Google’s late to the game, and I’m not switching from Bing as my default, but it’s good to see.

UPDATE: I should make it clear the biggest reason I’m glad to see this is because of Google’s acknowledgement that simply providing a list of hits is no longer enough. Microsoft was right, and now both sides can compete. Google may have upped the ante with today’s changes (e.g., the smart date ranges), and that’s good. Microsoft will need to respond.

This is not a sign of anything: iPhone OS 4 Search branding removed in Safari

iLounge has pointed out that the “Google” branded search button in mobile Safari has been renamed “Search” in iPhone OS 4. Is this a sign that Apple is about to dump Google from mobile search?

No, it’s not.

Geez, the conspiracy kooks are out in force because Safari’s search button no longer says “Google” in iPhone OS 4.0, but rather just “Search”.

Gads! Apple hates Google. It’s a bitter, no-holds-barred war. Apple must be ready to introduce their own search engine. Quick, what other knee-jerk response can we get in before reality settles in?!!

The truth is the search button is only labeled Google if Google is the chosen search engine. I use Yahoo! as default on my iPhone; I’ll give you three guesses what the button’s labeled.

Bottom line is calling it Search makes a ton of sense. No conspiracy, no corporate smack down, no overriding new strategy. Get a grip, people.

Apple and Google On Mobile Devices: Who Benefits Most?


Darcy Travios has an interesting article on Forbes about the difference between Apple and Google on mobile devices going forward. I’d be hard pressed to bet against either of these companies, but he makes a good case that Apple is better positioned at this time.

The thrust of his argument is in the area of search, and it makes sense. He argues that search is a completely different animal in the mobile space as opposed to the desktop/laptop space (emphasis mine):

And, to reiterate, the success of the iPhone is due, in part, to the brilliance of the app store and the convenient delivery of (not search for) the services and information consumers want.

He believes that searching on a mobile device is too difficult, and the rise of specialized mobile apps that essentially do the searching for you largely replaces the necessity of that task. I think he’s got a point. I use search on my desktop machines every day, but I can’t remember the last time I did a browser search for anything on my iPhone.

To be sure, it’s not just because of the apps; the mobile form factor isn’t well-suited for searches. Still, I believe searches are drastically reduced on mobile devices, and therefore so are the ads displayed on search results pages. The lack of ads hits Google right in their main revenue stream.

Bottom line is this: If you’re a company that relies primarily on ad revenue from searches, but the hot new platform with chart-busting growth potential is one that does not need or encourage such searches, you can’t ride that wave. Apple will not only ride that wave, they’re likely to crest it.

What about you? How often do you “Google” on your mobile device?

Bing Is One Month Old. How’s It Doing?

According to Microsoft, Bing has done well in its first month:

We saw 8 percent growth in unique users to Bing.com in June, which is an important indicator that you are trying Bing and the word is spreading.

I’m sure that, coming from Microsoft, some of this is hyperbole, but probably no more so than other companies “exaggerate”.

In my view, even if the exact figure may be disputed, I am not surprised that Bing has likely done well so far. I rather like it.

In fact, I’ve set it as my default search in Internet Explorer (though I hardly use IE) and  Firefox. Unfortunately, I can’t set it as my default in Safari, because Apple seems to think there are only two search engines: Google and Yahoo. Come on, Apple, let’s open that up a bit, OK?

Microsoft Doesn’t Need Yahoo Search, But Wouldn’t Mind Yahoo Talent

Interesting story from Mary Jo Foley on Microsoft picking up more Yahoo! executive talent. It’s interesting because of this comment:

I’ve seen a few industry watchers refer to these moves as Microsoft “poaching” Yahoo’s talent. But I wonder whether this is a case of Microsoft poaching or Yahoos jumping ship (or maybe a little bit of both)

I think she has a point; it’s almost certainly a little of both.

One thing is for sure, and I alluded to this in my review of Bing, I don’t think Microsoft needs to mess with caring (or even pretending to care) about Yahoo’s search business so much. Bing is a nice service, and just may pick up Yahoo’s business without even the hint of a buyout.

Heck, Bing even got Google to sit up and take notice.