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Yahoo dumping Google

Boy oh boy, Yahoo! is stupid.

Yahoo!'s value is in its hand categorized directory. I thought they really got it when they dumped their crappy search in favor of Google's excellent one.

Now they're dumping Google, and going back to writing it themselves. Don't they see what a mistake that is? Unless Google makes a HUGE stumble here, it would seem that Yahoo! is committing itself to search oblivion.

http://news.com.com/2100-1038-5135409.html?tag=nefd_hed

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

It might be a stunt to see if google would lower the fee for the service contract they have agreed to enter?

By the way the google search has been deteriorating (albeit at a rate slower than AltaVista did back then).

I had no idea that a few mal servers could ruin the ranking so completely.

I think it's a pretty dumb idea too, G has it down cold.

Li-fan Chen
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'm not sure whether it will hurt Yahoo that much, but I certainly think it's not a nice idea. An article (on Yahoo news) says "And now it is beginning to roll out offerings stemming from those acquisitions, based on Overture's technology for selling "sponsored," or paid, search results, as well as Inktomi's technology for searching the Web."

So, their strategy is to use Inktomi, which no one chose to use, and then put in more paid search results, and this will make people quit using Google why? That's like saying "Our plan is to deliver a worse product than our competitor, but with more advertising."

(The article is at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=808&ncid=808&e=3&u=/dowjones/20040106/bs_dowjones/200401060157000411 ).

Exception guy
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Not entirely news, since this was expected. Yahoo's motivation: they're probably trying to time this to hurt the Google IPO and thus reduce the amount of money Google raises, which will reduce Google's ability to compete with Yahoo. Paradoxically, I think it might help Google's IPO because it will eliminate a point of uncertainty and drive eyeballs away from Yahoo to Google where they get the better search results.

(Full Disclosure: I am a Google shareholder)

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'm surprised that so many people are surprised by this.  Yahoo acquired Overture and Inktomi for a reason.

Anonymous
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Its not a good time for Google. Their whole pagerank system is being hacked and abused, they have Vivisimo http://vivisimo.com/ breathing down their neck not to mention AlltheWeb, rumors are SCO is going to go after them.

I think they will survive if not for anything because of they really understand the KISS principle. Nothing is so beautifully simple and at the same time as powerful (filetype: pdf!) as google.

Yahoo is just a pretender to that throne and it will go the altavista way....by not being able to resist the temptation to get some quick revenue by littering their search engine with flash ads , popups, 10 MB images, paid search results difficult to identify as such and what not. 

Remember Google is run by Engineers :-) Yahoo is run by a Hollywood executive :-)

Code Monkey
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Joel:

You're a google shareholder? how can you own google's share whilest they're not even public?

Cosmo Kramer
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'll second Cosmo's question.

I'd like to own google shares very much, as it's obvious they will shoot up once the IPO happens.

Maybe options, Joel ?

Eli Bendersky
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Just because shares in a company aren't publically traded doesn't mean that they don't exist....


Yahoo have been planning this for some time.  As has been mentioned above, they made some strategic acquisitions in the past couple of years.  They were demoing some concepts mid-last year, and the beta service is accessible here: http://search.yahoo.com/

It's quite an interesting approach - mid-way between a google approach and a traditional yahoo approach (pared down a lot but pushier with extra information than google, particularly if you search for something it considers to be a news topic). 

The search results seem pretty good as well - I think it'll probably do well with their user base.

Disclosure: Yahoo are a client of my employer; I've done work for them in the past

JP
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Yahoo is more of a service provider/content aggregator than a pure search engine. I don't think Yahoo will be hurt by dumping Google. It will hurt Google revenues and mindshare.

runtime
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

In my opinion, the value of the Yahoo directory is very, very little.

It is a very poor directory, when compared with the Open Directory Project, for example.

Old, irrelevant sites, etc. :-(

So.. the value of Yahoo consists of:

- the fact that Yahoo was first and many people know about it

- lots of well done services, such as a truly excellent webmail

The search part was crap anyway.


Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Why is that a mistake, Brad?  Are you saying nobody can compete with Google? 

robb
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I think if Yahoo wants to compete in search they would do better if they came out with a search engine under a different name. Yahoo is soooo 90's.

Bill K
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Google has been going downhill fast so I'm happy to see others put in effort to provide something better.  Google seems more interested in developing toolbars and useless features like accepting UPS tracking numbers than fixing the problems with their search engine. 

SomeBody
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

what exactly is "the problem" with their search engine?

my searches work
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The google toolbar is going to give Google a lot of staying power.  I keep seeing vivismo (and results are ok), but Goggle is INSIDE my browser (with the google bar).

The real Entrepreneur
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

No, I'm just saying that YAHOO can't compete with Google. :)

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Lately I've been finding Google results for many semi-common items (usually when looking for product information) to be totally innundated with pages and pages of garbage links -- obviously spamsters are manipulating pagerank and associated algorithms for their own gain, at the cost of every searcher.

I still think Google is number 1, but it's amazing how many people clutch onto it like their mommy, defending it to the death -- one must never disparage Google in any way on Slashdot.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I agree Dennis, searching for so many things these days on google is just horrendous.  The first 5 pages are 95% garbage.  This happens on Froogle too.

Granted, it's probably because there are in fact more of those garbage affiliate sites than they're used to be.  It's a tough problem to solve.

Roose
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Best of Yahoo:
1. Yahoo news summaries
2. Yahoo mail
3. Yahoo groups
4. Geocities

Best of Google:
1. Search
2. News.google.com
3. Groups.google.com

Marcus Brecht
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

My advice when searching google:

Avoid-links-with-dashes-in-the-URL.htm

Also, avoid links where the title of the page does not match the body/description/URL.


Even obscure links are being fake-ranked.  Try this search for "Master of Orion 2 patch"[1].  The top five links are fake:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=master+of+orion+2+patch


[1] - and yes, I was actually searching for the MOO2 patch.

..
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Nice example, ".."
Incidentally, when you use  search.yahoo.com you have more or less the same answers.
Whereas Altavista (remember ?) happens to be much better...

Pakter
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

That is a great example because the first two links are at www.ransandanks.net which seems to frequently show up at the top of searches.  If you go to that URL (you probably don't want to), it attempts to trick you into installing an ActiveX component (anyone want to take bets that this is adware, spyware, or a virus?).  My first question is how can Google's algorithm be so crappy that such shady operations like this can so easily hijack searches?  Are there really that many web sites out there linking to all these dashed URLs at www.ransandanks.net?  My second question is why doesn't Google have an abuse team in place to eliminate malicious sites like this? 

Here's another search to try -- 'job description for accountant'.  It returns some decent results (other than the first one) and gives the notice that we've all seen: "for" is a very common word and was not included in your search.  In fact, I've seen this notice so often that I simply omit those words from my search.  My initial search was for 'job description accountant'.  Try it.  Interesting, isn't it?  Not only do the results change but our good friend www.ransandanks.net is back in the number two and three positions.  Google has a serious problem with either their messages saying "not included in your search" or with their algorithm that is incorrectly including it in the search. 

It would be nice if Google's PhDs would spend a little time on these things.

SomeBody
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

>My first question is how can Google's algorithm be so crappy that such shady operations like this can so easily hijack searches? 

This is a valid question but there is no answer to it....the fact is  that more google becomes popular (and there is not much more popular it can be than it is now!) the more people dissect its pagerank algorithms and the more incentive people have to  beat it for their own nefarious purposes.  Ordering of the searched results cannot be random...there has to be some logic behind it...and hence anyone with enough time and incentive and skills can beat it....something which some of these spammers have in  abundance...atleast the first two skills that is!

I think google exacberated the problem by their toolbar which gives the pagerank for every page visited which allows these guys to "tune" their strategies to appear on top of websites.

>Are there really that many web sites out there linking to all these dashed URLs at www.ransandanks.net?  My second question is why doesn't Google have an abuse team in place to eliminate malicious sites like this?

Are you kidding? There are millions of sites our there...if google starts looking into each and every site manually there will be no end to it...not to mention it would become a yahoo like engine where humans review every site before it is admitted into the listing pantheon...the whole reason google became popular is that it found even obscure sites which no one even looked at and did it with a clean and simple interface.

The simple fact is that if some abuse comes to your attention report it to google so that atleast someone can look at it...here are the email addresses to report

Suggestions: suggestions@google.com

Praise and complaints: comments@google.com

Not satisfied with search results? search-quality@google.com

Report errors, bugs and broken links: webmaster@google.com

Code Monkey
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I'm not suggesting that Google review every site.  However, it's not hard to imagine some simple heuristics that could be used to detect suspect sites.  For example, as someone else already mentioned in this thread, links-with-dashes-matching-search-terms.htm are almost always junk.  At the very least, they could review sites that are reported by users. 

As a general rule, I don't complain publicly about anything like this until I have notified the company of the problem giving them the opportunity to act on it.  When I first noticed it in this thread, I reported the ransandanks.net links in the MOO2 search using the "Help us improve" link at the bottom of the search results.  As of this writing, ransandanks.net still appears at the top of the listing. 

SomeBody
Thursday, January 08, 2004

OK somebody.  for is not included in the search. That is to say that the number of results returned (approximately 158,000) is the same if you search for job + description + accountant or job + description + for + accountant.

However the word for changes the RANKING of the results. If you include it in the search letters google will return sites with the string "job description for accountant" at the top of the ranking.

So continue putting these little words in; Google won't search for sites that feature the word "for" but  the word will affect which sites are returned first, which is what you are really bothered about.

And yes, the informative message could have been less confusing.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, January 08, 2004

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