Yahoo Cedes Victory to Google?

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Has Yahoo ceded victory to Google? Yahoo! is saying that search is history and is planning to fight other battles. Yahoo! believes personalization is the future of the web and is more important than search. In the meantime, they’ve opened up their Panama ad platform by launching a commercial Search Marketing API program, which might be a little late.

Yahoo giving up is a huge disappointment – to me anyway. Is this utter nonsense? Search will always be important on the web. How we do it, however, will have to improve. Twelve years after being a search engine webmaster, I find search still lacking. To me, relevance will be most important, but since that changes by user, maybe Yahoo’s focus on personalization is a smart move. So if that’s true, why have at least three Yahoo executives left the company?

But I’m always against (virtual) monopolies, so my fingers are crossed that Google will have a competitor soon – or we’ll have to live with the FOG (fear of Google). On that note, Microsoft is reputedly building a new top-secret horizontal stealth search engine using a Silicon Valley team of at least twenty developers.

My question is why? Is their existing engine beyond repair? More importantly, will they come up with something worthwhile?

UPDATE [Tue Jun 05/07]: Kathryn Kelly of Yahoo! sent Loren Baker an email msg, and he passed it on to me. I’m happy to say that Yahoo! has not given up on search. Here’s what Kathryn had to say:

…we are absolutely not ceding victory to Google and we are 100% committed to search. The UK reporter was overzealous in his story and we have created a statement we’re sharing with media to clarify:

“Web Search is a top priority for Yahoo! and we are committed to developing and investing in new technologies that will shape the future of search. We believe personalization tools complement our efforts in search and will play an important role in delivering the most relevant information to help consumers get a more complete answer and connect them to their passions, their communities and the world’s knowledge.”

Best, Kathryn

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  • Pablo Palatnik

    It seems like Yahoo! is in a constant struggle trying to switch directions from where Google is headed. I think a lot of it has to do with its dissapointing Q1 with it’s shareholders…First it’s all about connectiong it’s all about personalization. I think these are all good plans, but I think they do still compete with Google in search and releasing statements, etc. for stockholders and future stockholders, hoping to jump on board and hopefully get thier stock to rise.

  • Raj Dash

    Pablo, I agree. I think Yahoo’s CEO (can’t remember her name) is so stockholder-centric that the whole company loses sight of the important person: the end user. They’ve got something Google doesn’t: Yahoo Pipes. But Google has all those great web 2.0 apps.

    Yahoo: Stop competing with Google and just come out with more great apps.

  • MG Siegler

    I agree, I’m a bit disappointed with Yahoo stepping back and rethinking search – I saw them as a great alternative to Google. But this probably is the smart move on their part – no one is going to catch the G-men despite Microsoft’s willingness to throw money at any problem, at any time.

    At least by taking it in another direction, Yahoo has a chance of uncovering the next big thing that we’ll all be talking about in 10 years.

  • Wayne Smallman

    Personally, I think Y! are doing the right thing.

    They’ve been branching out into specialist social portals, such as Yahoo! OurCities, more commercial ventures such as the Brand Universe properties, as well as deals with Dash in-car Sat-Nav.

    If getting into the whole social web thing is the way to go, then could we argue that Google are playing catch-up to Yahoo!?

  • liam

    Personalization is definitely the future for the web, but who’s going to use yahoo with iGoogle around?

  • Wayne Smallman

    I used to use iGoogle, but then I found Netvibes. Didn’t really looked back.

    Especially with the widget…

  • Walt C.

    I say… just use squeba! (squeba dot com) | This site combined the best search engines on one page (google, yahoo, msn) … they also included boxes for ebay, wikipedia, and as well.

    I use this as my start page and would never use a single start page again. Why choose just one when you can have them all?

    go squeba!