Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

This Week, Google Talked Search; Next Week, Yahoo Does–a.k.a. Kumo-FUD

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Suddenly, search!

Earlier this week, Google put on a show called “Searchology” about its latest search innovations at its HQ in Silicon Valley.

And next Tuesday, Yahoo will trot out its search extravaganza, called “Search chalk talk,” during which top search techies will talk up its more innovative products, such as Build Your Own Search Service (BOSS) and Search Monkey.

Could all this search blabbing have anything to do with a certain upcoming launch of a new search offering by a very rich and even more determined giant tech company?

As in: Microsoft (MSFT) and whatever it ends up calling its redone search product, code-named Kumo.

Since the launch is likely to be loud and splashy, the No. 1 and No. 2 search players needed to make some of their own noise in advance about their stuff.

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So Google (GOOG)–which has a massive lead in search of upward of 70 percent–trotted out Udi Manber, VP of Search Engineering, and Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience, this past Tuesday for a media audience.

The distillation of the event was that doing search well is still really, really hard–a new kind of “rocket science,” in fact, as Manber declared.

(Google’s spaceship crashed a bit today, as it turned out, with an outage, which was blamed on a “traffic jam” in Asia.)

At the event, the search giant also unveiled some new bells and whistles, such as Search Options, including a “Wonder Wheel” and “Google Squared,” as well as “Rich Snippets.”

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Not to be outdone, Yahoo (YHOO) will have its own confab for reporters and bloggers next Tuesday morning in San Francisco.

Presenting at the event with be: Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo Labs and Yahoo Search Strategy; Larry Cornett, VP of Consumer Products; and Lee Ott, senior director, Mobile Search.

Yahoo has a search share that hovers around 20 percent, which makes the upcoming increased competition from Microsoft more problematic.

Which is why the company continues its talks with Microsoft about a search and online advertising partnership.

But until any deal is struck, of course, it will be competition as usual.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work