I’ve really been thinking about it a lot lately, and now I’m close to the point of certainty that the near future of the Internet will include the merger of the two dot-com giants, Yahoo! & Google. All that’s left, in my eyes, other than some business paperwork and antitrust litigation, is choosing the name – Yahoogle! or Goohoo!.
With both search-engine/portal giants buying up practically every little dot-com that seems to have a snowball’s chance of catching some large userbase (hey, readership of esteemed techno-religio-socio blog basilgohar.com is up to…what, three, maybe four these days…Yahoogle! beware!), it really is only a matter of time before both Yahoo! & Google’s lustful eyes turn towards one-another and start to ponder about the forbidden fruit that is a merger the likes of which JPMorgan Chase would be envious. Let’s examine them briefly:
From the beginning, Yahoo! has been the site to go for both for Internet indexes as well as a powerful search engine. Early on, Yahoo! entered into the game of content hosting, providing portal services much akin to AOL and other dedicated online services solely through free Internet access. Yahoo! was also an early player in the free web-based e-mail game, a service whose home page is still, according to Alexa, is the most visited site (take that as you will). Yahoo! continued in the content-provider as well as social networking role by adding games, their own messenger service, and a host of other self-hosted features, including Yahoo! small business. Not being content with their own flesh-and-blood offerings, Yahoo! pioneered the surge of Internet dot-com baby adoptions, including Geocities, del.icio.us, and Flickr. And Yahoo!’s appetite for fresh dot-com blood seems nowhere near sated as the recent acquisition of MyBlogLog tells us.
The Google story is very much a reflection of one of the tenets of the Unix philosophy – do one thing and do it well. If you’re having trouble figuring out what that one thing is, I can only assume you must be reading this in the form of a print out or between two covers of a book, perhaps archived for the future generations (i.e., you) as an example of how opinionated people used to make their points without having to listen to someone talk back. But, to cut straight to the matter, Google more-or-less perfected the concept of the Internet search engine, at least in our current time.
No one “Yahoo!’s” something. I’ve yet to hear someone “live.com” a topic. It’s unlikely someone has uttered, “You know what, maybe you should Altavista that”. But who with a computer has never Googled something? The simple yet complete answer is “no one”. Don’t believe me? Google it…
However, Google was not immune to dot-comsumptionitis, and it too began to feel the hunger for fledgling dot-coms just entering their prime. No other incident exemplifies this than the $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube. What is even more amazing about this than almost all of Yahoo!’s cannibalizations is the fact that Google already had a great video browsing site. However, Google’s video site, though excellent, lacked an essential feature of YouTube – a community. And it is here where Google really decided they wanted a piece of the content pie.
But, Yahoo! has too large a head start in the content bakery for Google to catch up in the same game. Google’s strengths have been, and likely always will be, their skill at making existing information available to the world (one of their founding principles – another one has something to do with being evil…). The lesson both have to learn is, really, one they’ve always been teaching everyone else – where you find yourself short, buy someone else who does it better.
How long, therefore, will it be before Google & Yahoo! take one last, long glance into one-another’s eyes and utter those words both have sought out for years – “I do”?
Ironically enough, I had already started writing this blog post before seeing that Jeremy Zawodny had already started speculating about Microsoft purchasing Yahoo!. Frankly, I think Yahoogle! sounds much cooler than “Microsoft Search!”.
And one final disclaimer: though I honestly think that a merger between Google & Yahoo! is extremely likely in the future, I wrote most of this after 1AM, so it should be taken in the spirit of fun & humor, and not as business advice or speculation. If you do something based on this post bad, I cannot be held liable for it. If you do something good based on this post, my cut is 10% (I’m talklin’ to you, Yahoogle!).