AOL For Sale: Google and Microsoft in Bidding War

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Friday, September 23, 2005
AOL For Sale: Google and Microsoft in Bidding War

On Thursday of last week Microsoft began talks with Time Warner regarding a possible merger between AOL and MSN. This suggestive merger is speculated to be a counter to the very serious threat that Google poses in the portal and search markets. However, in an attempt to stop a Microsoft takeover and to protect the almost $400 million in revenue that Google gets from its biggest partner, Google is speculated to make their own bid for American Online. Let the bidding war begin!

Google began providing search services for AOL in 2002, replacing Overture, which was later acquired by Yahoo! and just recently renamed Yahoo! Search Marketing. In 2003, Google and AOL broadened their agreement, as Google had agreed to pay AOL for every time someone clicks on one of its sponsored links. In 2004, AOL generated about 12 percent of Google's revenues, which as I stated above is somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 - $400 million.

My Thoughts

It makes sense for Google to counter any offer that Microsoft may through at AOL for 2 very simple reasons. First,as I mentioned above, acquiring AOL will protect Google $400 Million revenue stream. However, and more important, the second reason is that they would be denying MSN the support it needs to become a bigger competitive threat in the search engine market. A true win, win on Google's part if they pull it off.

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Google Unveils 'Blog Search' Feature

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Friday, September 16, 2005
Google

Google has just launched their long awaited blog search feature - a product designed to not only find and index listings within it's own Blogger.com network, but actually go one step further and search all blogs that publish feeds via RSS or Atom. Google plans to dedicate specific spiders to crawling only blog feeds which in turn will allow them to maintain the absolute freshest blog index possible. This alone has given Google an enormous advantage over it's current competitors in the blog search market.

Google has provided access to their blog search tool at a several different places. The primary search tool can be found at the feature can be accessed at a couple of different places. If you interested in finding more blogs like mine, or those not related to search engine marketing check out www.google.com/blogsearch. However, miniature versions of this tool have been set up across other Google properties including Blogger's dashboard.

My Thoughts

There's no doubt that blog content is hot right now. Personally, I enjoy reading blogs as content is often written in a more casual conversation-like way as opposed to what one might find from a book, magazine, or news site. Blogs allow writers to be personable and share their own opinions which is something I prefer to read. I believe many would agree with me on this. With that, it makes perfect sense for search engines like Google and Yahoo! to try and help their users to search and find their desired blog content. The search engine that can do this the best will ultimately win that user's loyalty. Google understands this, and has created one incredible blog searching tool which I feel is an instant threat to it's competitors.

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Google Launches Instant-Messaging Service

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Friday, September 09, 2005
Google Launches Instant-Messaging Service

2 Weeks ago, Google launched an instant-messaging program that allows text chat and computer-to-computer voice connections, a move that in my opinion will further highlight the search giant's increasing competition with Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online.

Google's IM service, titled Google Talk, resides in Beta and enables users to call or send instant messages to their "friends" for free--anytime, anywhere in the world. In addition to that, the program is linked to the Google's web-based e-mail program, Gmail, making email communication that much easier for its users.

When I first heard the rumors of this service a few months back, I thought to myself "How does Google plan to compete with the likes of MSN, Yahoo!, and AOL? How do they expect to go toe-to-toe, pound for pound with the already very popular and well-established instant messaging systems?" Nothing against Google, but aren't they a bit late to be entering this type of fight? Apparently not.

Jabber Open Source

Google launched their new chat program with authority, and as one might have predicted, a few surprises too. One advantage to using Google Talk is its ability to connect with users of competing services. The service is based on the Jabber open-source standard, which allows consumers to connect with other messaging systems that work with Jabber, such as Apple Computer's iChat, GAIM, Adium, Trillian Pro and Psi.

Very Basic Interface

I was able to test Google Talk these past few days and actually found it to be very basic... which can be good or bad depending on your IM expectations. I personally found it to be a very good thing. The messenger is free of advertisements (as of now anyway) and doesn't ask me to rate "buddies" based on their resemblance to famous people, like AOL does. It's just straight instant messaging and of course free voice chat.

Friend's Name Control

One other feature that I appreciate being included is the ability to control how friend's names appear. My friends are constantly changing their screen names and sometimes I find it difficult to remember who they are that week. This feature eliminates this problem. Now, regardless of which silly handle my friends and colleagues choose to be, I can list them as something that makes sense to me. For example, "Solid Snake" will now be "Karl Ribas."

While its still a little early to determine whether or not Google Talk will be the next big thing in Instant-Messaging, the service does pack a few worthwhile features that make it a true competitor for now.

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