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The other day we posted the first half of what we thought were some notable stories from the World of Search and Search Engines in 2007. Will 2008 be a slower year in Search? I doubt it, I think that we are going to see some great innovations from the major search engines... and not just from Google (GOOG). Microsoft (MSFT) has taken some small steps to improve their search offering and I would expect this to continue. Yahoo (YHOO) has been quiet of late having survived a year that saw a number of changes in their personnel. I would expect them to rebound nicely in 2008 as well. ASK (IACI) continues to be the little search engine that could and has created the best SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in the business. The future of search is looking bright in 2008.
Speaking of the future of search, Enquiro held a recent Webinar with a who's who in the search industry and usability with the topic of discussion being Search in 2010. View our webinar on the Future of Search, by visiting our research site over at Enquiro Research. For those interested, the total webinar is 60 min long (but worth it).
Jumping back to 2007 for a second, here are the remaining topics that we thought were of most importance in the Search World during 2007.
#15. Yahoo Tops Google in Satisfaction Survey - According to a University of Michigan customer satisfaction survey, Yahoo has a 79% consumer satisfaction rate over Google's 78% consumer satisfaction. Could this be a sign of things to come? Unlikely as Yahoo! continued to go through corporate restructuring throughout 2007.
#14. Google Guys Enter Forbes Richest American List - Forbes released their richest Americans list and the Google Guys are at number 5 and number six with an estimated worth of $18.5 billion each. This shows how these two pioneers became very wealthy with a simple concept (based on complex algorithms) in under nine years. The success of Google has been astonishing.
#13. Alibaba Raises $1.5 Billion in the second biggest IPO sales of an Internet company since Google - Yahoo! Inc. has about a 40 percent stake in parent Alibaba.com Corp. Yahoo shares added 24 percent in October based on optimism about gains from the IPO. According to Bloomberg, the final IPO price values the company at almost 54 times 2008 earnings before stock-based compensation for its employees.
#12. Pubcon Vegas 2007 - many feel that this conference from Webmaster World was one of the best in 2007. We tend to agree that is why it is in the #11 spot on our year end chart.
#11. Rumors of Microsoft Building a New Search Engine – Rumors have it that Microsoft has gathered a team of twenty or more “rock star” developers who’ve been tasked at building their next generation search engine.
#10. Microsoft Buys 1.6% Share in Facebook for $240 million - the deal indicated that the valuation of Facebook is somewhere in the ballpark of $15 billion. Are you for real? A kid who was born in 1984 has a social network worth $15 billion... isn't the Internet a wonderful thing? Mark Zuckerberg is probably the nation's richest man under 25.
#9. Google Continues to Update Product Offerings - throughout 2007, there was one area in which Google dominated their competition. Improvements to their existing products. They continued to update Google Analytics by Adding New Features including adWords integration and clickable URLs. They continued with an update in April, where Google Webmaster Tools was improved to allow more insight into anchor text and again in September as Google Updates Webmaster Tools Again.
#8. Facebook is released to the General Public - in May 2007, Facebook was made available to the general public and the rest as we say was history.
#7. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel steps down; Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang steps in as new CEO of Yahoo – you knew something was up at Yahoo’s Annual Shareholder’s Meeting when Terry Semel was questioned (in essence) as to if he still wanted his job. He obviously was unable to sell them on that fact that he wanted to remain in his position as he stepped down in June as the CEO of Yahoo.
#6. Yahoo Updates Search Offering with Search Assist - The Search Assist feature released by Yahoo is designed to better understand user intent and get consumers to the results they are looking for in one search. This is very cool as we are strong believers that the focus on the user experience should always be what the engines work towards. Great job by the Yahoo Search team. This was a huge announcement for Yahoo as the search Assist feature is very cool.
#5. Google's Big Announcement about Android and the Open Handset Alliance - Many were awaiting word of Google's Phone Project. Well Google did not announce the birth of the gPhone instead they announced the launch of Android a new operating system for mobile phones that Google envisions as being the foundation for many new phones that will create a new experience for users of mobile phones with new applications and capabilities.
#4. Microsoft Completes Buyout of aQuantive - Microsoft (MSFT) announced that they had completed their acquisition of the digital marketing / ad firm that they had been pursuing for a number of weeks. Microsoft closed out a $6 billion buyout of aQuantive (AQNT) in August of 2007.
#3. Google's purchase of ad firm DoubleClick in it's largest to-date acquisition for an estimated 3.1 billion dollars. With the move Google may account for close to 80 percent of the ads served up on the Internet. The deal continues to be scrutinized as recent as this week a s two technology interest groups on Tuesday reiterated their call for a privacy investigation into the proposed merger of Google and DoubleClick, and threatened to sue the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over possible conflicts of interest surrounding the agency's chairman and her involvement with a law firm representing DoubleClick's European interests.
#2. ASK.com re-launches their search engine with a focus on user experience, blended search results and personalization. ASK’s new SERP interface provides people with a faster, easier, and richer search experience. When ASK began testing their new ASK X interface last December, we thought that it was a prelude to the personalization of search. ASK emerges in 2007 as having the best Search Engine Results page in the business. ASK has been by far the most aggressive engine when it comes to modifying the experience on their results page. So much so that Google has been recently testing slight tweaks to their results pages that are in the vain of ASK's SERP.
#1. Google Unveils Universal Search Results - Google was the first of the major search engines to incorporate blended search results into their main index of results. From images, books and blog posts to news articles and video, the landscape of the search results in Google moved away from traditional blue text links that we are all accustomed to. Universal search or blended search results will play a key role in the future as to how users are served up results. If you opt in to My Stuff in ASK, or iGoogle with Google, you can expect universal search results to show up adding more personalization to your user experience with a search engine. The biggest news of 2007 was personalization with Google's Universal search being a stepping stone to a better, more personalized experience with Google.