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Friday, February 21, 2003

Microsoft Re-Ups with Inktomi

Huh. Maybe Microsoft won't be buying FAST after all...

Posted by Cory
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Thursday, February 20, 2003

I Choose Google News

At first I dismissed Google News as a clever but unispired way of getting one's daily news. But, since the hubbub of Google buying Blogger and how it might hook into Google News, I've taken an interest in Google's automated news page. It really is quite remarkable considering how powerful and intuitive it is, and considering the fact that a computer assembles the content by determining an article's relevance among 4,000 news sources.

The thing that really strikes me about Google News is just how much power local newspapers and independent news sources have now that they are routinely linked to from one of the world's most popular web sites. What are the odds that someone in Missouri would read feature articles from the Hartford Courant if it weren't for something like this?

And the losers in all of this are certainly the cable network news sites like CNN and MSNBC. I don't see Google linking to them very much -- not yet, anyway. Now that news seekers have such a unique, diverse and powerful tool at their disposal, the cable news sites just don't seem as relevant. Still, time will tell how it will all play out.

In any case, I know that I'll be frequenting Google News a lot more. And, if and when the Blogger acquisition does actually integrate somehow into the News page, it'll all be that much more interesting.

Posted by Cory
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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Overture FAQs about AltaVista Aquisition

Details are scant, of course, but Overture has posted a FAQ page about the proposed buyout here.

Every question seems to have the same answer, though:

"AltaVista.com Web site provides Overture with a robust, live platform for developing, testing and quickly launching new products and services that will add value for both our advertisers and partners, such as paid inclusion products and a leading algorithmic search capability."

So all you suckers still searching AltaVista are now search engine guineau pigs. Enjoy!

Posted by Cory
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The Changes Keep Coming: Overture Swallows AltaVista

Overture announced today that it will buy AltaVista, in another major development in the search business. Now that web search is becoming more reliable and profitable, the moves have been coming fast and furious.

First Yahoo buys Inktomi, then Google buys Blogger, and now this. These are exciting times, my search engine friends. What does it all mean? According to their press release:

"The acquisition will enable Overture to offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites, as well as additional marketing opportunities to the company's large base of advertisers. AltaVista's advanced algorithmic search technology, which crawls the Web and returns relevant search results in response to users' queries, strategically complements Overture's market-leading technology in commercial search. Additionally, AltaVista's Web site will allow Overture to test and refine new products and services in a live setting, and its suite of search-related technology patents will help support Overture's entry into algorithmic search."

I don't quite grasp how having control of a spider-based search engine allows it to "signficantly enhance" its offerings to its portal distribution partners like Yahoo, which already owns Inktomi, so what they're probably saying is that Overture realizes that its clout in the PPC space is waning and that it had to get into the search business or die a slow death.

A few days ago, I had been predicting that slow death after Overture raised its minimum bid amount to 10 cents, but now that it has AV, all bets are off. The aquisition leaves FAST as the sole remaining major algorithmic search engine that is independently owned.

Which probably means that it will be owned by Microsoft in a matter of days.

Posted by Cory
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Monday, February 17, 2003

Just How Scarce is News about Microsoft?

For the low, low price of $399 a year, you can subscribe to Microsoft-Watch, an e-mail newsletter produced by veteran ZDNet reporter Mary Jo Foley that purports to offer breaking news about the software titan before anyone else knows about it. Hmm, so I can pay 400 bucks a year for something I can get for free or much cheaper in hundreds of other online publications. Awesome!

The lead story on the site is a brief post referencing a Newsweek story about threedegrees, Microsoft's new software aimed at teens and social groups. Wow, talk about exclusive content!

To be fair, Foley's efforts seem respectable, and they do have informative, free content, too. But $399 seems like a high price to pay for information that is so widely covered ubiquitously by so many others. It seems like an odd publication for Ziff Davis, which gets most of its revenue from offline mags and online ads. Maybe they're testing the waters of charging subscriptions to online content, faced with declining offline profits?

Posted by Cory
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Google Groupies

Is it just me or is this site a pandering ploy to grab Google's (and Moreover's) attention? It appears that the site, Google Village, is part of a network of sites owned by an outfit called Verity Intellectual Properties Pty Ltd of Australia, which seems to be creating a network around topics like Google, something called Personal Brain and some abstract concept called Technacy. Uhhh, OK.

So far, the company, using a bevy of .info domains, has managed to get Moreover to buy into their ploy, and Google probably will too, as it looks like they've been very good about optimizing especially for Google. Here's a sampling of Verity's "revolutionary" philosophy:

The company is a private company owned by Mr. Mel Olsen, a businessman in Sydney, Australia, who is seeking new ways of doing business, and seeking to change his business model from those types of businesses where he is required every moment of each day, to drive money earning to a business that earns money at any time of day or night where effort of the business owner and/or manager is not a bottleneck. Mel has hired Dr Elwyn Jenkins, who has had a number of years experience in building ideas on the Internet, to drive much of the activity. However, Verity Intellectual Properties Pty Ltd does have some other activities planned that are outside of this first and key employee.

The main purpose of Verity Intellectual Properties Pty Ltd is to develop a body of knowledge surrounding the tools of technacy that is second to none on the Internet. Verity Intellectual Properties Pty Ltd is in its infancy and does not as yet have any site that is "authoritative" on subjects. However, it is working towards being recognized as such over time. You will see developed over a period of time knowledge on the following tools of technacy in this first phase of the businesses' development...


You show 'em, Mr. Mel!

Posted by Cory
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Sunday, February 16, 2003

Blogger + Google = Bloggle?

The world of online publishing was rocked Sunday when news broke that Google has snapped up the king of weblog publishing, Pyra Labs, which operates the Blogger service. The news is significant for a number of reasons.

First, as any observer of the online publishing space has noted, blogging is becoming more and more mainstream. Big companies like software maker Macromedia are chumming up to their customers by establishing personal weblogs maintained by PR people and product managers. Businesses are discovering the benefits of blogs, and even though blog publishers have yet to hit it big, many analysts believe it's only a matter of time until that happens. So, Google's acquisition will likely push that trend into overdrive.

Second, Google has been looking for ways into increase its revenue and customer base, and it has done quite well with the pickup of Blogger. Now Google has a stable of almost a million bloggers, many of whom pay $35 for Blogger Pro, which provides more advanced features than the basic, free version.

Bloggers everywhere are surely rejoicing at the news. Blogging just gained overnight recognition as a viable, credible form of publishing, and users of Blogger (including Traffick) can likely look forward to a slew of new tools and resources to make publishing even easier and worthwhile.

Posted by Cory
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