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Categories: Search

Top Search Terms for 2009

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on December 01

We know that Google owns the lion’s share of searches on the Web, followed by Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing. But do the leading search engines attract different types of users?…

Google Buys Teracent to Boost Display Ad Push

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 23

If anyone doubted Google was serious about online display advertising, those doubts surely were quashed today. This morning, Google announced the acquisition of Teracent, a startup that helps advertisers format…

In Factery Labs’ Search Engine, Facts Trump Links

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 17

Despite Google’s inexorable gains in Internet search market share, search startups (and behemoths) keep trying to improve upon the search giant’s results. Factery Labs, debuting early Nov. 17, aims to…

What’s on the Web Tonight? Clicker Debuts Video Guide

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 12

How do you find what to watch online? Sites for finding and watching video abound, from search engines such as Blinkx and Truveo to hosted video sites such as YouTube…

LIVE: Microsoft Announces Twitter, Facebook Deals

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 21

UPDATE: Big news below: Microsoft has signed deals to get full feeds from Twitter and Facebook. Shortly, a dedicated beta site,, will have the ability to search full Twitter…

LIVE: Yahoo Beats Q3 Earnings Forecasts; Q4 Outlook Up

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 20

Yahoo managed to beat third-quarter profit forecasts easily on slightly higher-than-expected revenues. Shares rallied in after-hours trading by about 3% 6% (the higher number coming as the conference call proceeds)….

LIVE: Google Beats Q3 Earnings Expectations

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 15

Google beat third-quarter earnings expectations easily, posting a 7% rise in net revenues excluding payments to advertising partners, to $4.38 billion. Profit was $5.89 a share, handily beating forecasts. Google…

Search Ad Spending Improves—and Boosts Google Shares

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 12

Hit by the economy early this year, search advertising looks to be on the mend. For the second quarter in a row, two search marketing firms say U.S. spending on…

Matt Cutts: How Google Deals With Web Spam

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 04

It’s up to Matt Cutts and his team at Google to keep search results as free as possible from Web spam, those pages full of Viagra ads or even malware….

Google’s Scott Huffman: Many More Search Features Coming

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 03

Scott Huffman runs one of the least-known units at Google: the evaluation team that measures the impact of every little proposed change to the leading search engine. And with some…

Google Search Guru Singhal: We Will Try Outlandish Ideas

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 02

Inside Google’s search quality group, Amit Singhal runs the core ranking team, which is responsible for those algorithms you hear so much about. The team ran some 6,000 experiments last…

Google’s Udi Manber: Search Is About People, Not Just Data

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

Udi Manber, Google’s vice-president of technology for core search, joined the company almost four years ago after stints running’s A9 search project and serving as chief scientist at Yahoo….

Can Google Stay On Top of the Web? An Inside Look

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

Google’s search engine is often described as a black box thanks to the veil of secrecy the company places over the mathematical formulas that determine what results we see in…

Rubicon Project Buys Others Online in Audience Data Play

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 15

There’s an emerging trend in online advertising that I only flicked at in an article last February on ad networks: As data about people’s online activities grows, it’s allowing advertisers…

“No Bull——”: Ballmer & Bartz on Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 29

Soon after announcing their deal to combine forces on Internet search and search advertising, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked with BusinessWeek about how the deal…

Microsoft and Yahoo Announce 10-Year Search Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 29

And so the deal is finally done: Microsoft and Yahoo early this morning announced a 10-year deal that provides a united front against search giant Google. As we wrote last…

Microsoft Search Deal With Yahoo Finally Here?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 28

At long last, Microsoft and Yahoo appear to be very close to a long-awaited deal on Internet search. According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Boomtown blog,…

LIVE: Yahoo’s Q2 Earnings, Q3 Outlook Disappoint

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 21

Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings are out now amid muted expectations. Its profit rose to $141 million, or 10 cents a share, from $131 million, or 9 cents a share a year…

Google Beats Earnings Forecast But Investors Unimpressed

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 16

Google managed to beat expectations for its second-quarter results. Here’s the release, but on first glance, it looks like Google met expectations on revenues but beat handily on profits. All…

All Eyes on Google As Second-Quarter Earnings Report Looms

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 16

Search giant Google will report its second-quarter earnings shortly after 1 p.m. Pacific time today, at a time when investors will be wondering which way online advertising is going. While…

Microsoft Adds Some Twitter Updates to Bing Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 01

In a nod to the increasing importance of real-time search, Microsoft has started adding Twitter updates to its Bing search engine. For now, the Twitter-related results are limited only to…

LIVE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s First Annual Meeting

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 25

I’ll be liveblogging the Yahoo annual meeting this morning at the Santa Clara Marriott in Silicon Valley, network willing. This year’s meeting is sure to have less drama than the…

Collecta Launches *Really* Real-Time Search Engine

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 18

Remember not so very long ago how amazed you were that Google could return so many useful search results in just a split-second? Today, that kind of speed isn’t…

People-Powered Search Engine Mahalo Cranks Up the Crowdsourcing

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 02

Since it launched two years ago, the self-described human-powered search engine Mahalo has relied upon a staff of real editors, sometimes working with paid freelancers, to organize search results. That’s…

Yahoo Plugs Search Progress: Toward a Web of Objects

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 19

With Microsoft set to relaunch its search engine as early as next week, its rivals have been talking up the new and upcoming features of their search engines. Google held…

Wolfram Alpha: Clever, But for What?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 18

I’ve been playing with Wolfram Research’s new Alpha research tool—I am deliberately not calling it a search engine—since it went public over the weekend, and it has left me with…

New Google Search Features: We’re Not Dead Yet; Not Even Resting

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12

Amid a flurry of Internet search developments by other companies recently, Google today sought to demonstrate that it’s not ceding any leadership in the Internet’s most valuable territory. At the…

Google + Wolfram?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 06

Here’s a post from my colleague and editor Peter Elstrom, who spoke with British mathematician and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram two days ago about his new search technology effort, called WolframAlpha:…

Another Google Ad Exec Leaves; Tidbits from an Interview with David Rosenblatt

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 29

Google has lost yet another top ad executive. David Rosenblatt, president of global display advertising for the search giant, emailed friends and colleagues to say he’s leaving the company a…

LIVE: Yahoo Second-Quarter Earnings Just OK, Q2 Guidance Light; 5% Layoff Announced

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 21

Yahoo managed to hit earnings expectations on slightly lower-than-expected first-quarter revenues. It also announced it expects to lay off about 5% of its staff. Based on the 13,600 employees as…

LIVE: Google’s First-Quarter Earnings: Revenues Down, Profits Beat Forecasts, Investors Yawn

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 16

Google’s first-quarter earnings are out, and while it managed to beat profit expectations thanks to cost-cutting, revenues were down 3% from the fourth quarter, about what analysts had forecast. From…

More Layoffs Coming at Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 14

Well, nobody really thought new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz would simply dial up Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with a deal proposal and leave it at that, did they? And so…

Marketers Cut Search Ad Spending But Reap Higher Returns

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 14

As investors look ahead to Google’s first-quarter earnings report Thursday, they’ll be looking for further signs of how much search advertising has been hit by the tanking economy. Here’s an…

Yahoo and Microsoft CEOs Finally Talking About a Search Deal; Maybe More?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 10

In a development that can’t be too surprising but may help revamp the Internet landscape, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have started talking about forging Internet…

Report: Google in Talks to Buy Twitter? Update: Probably Not

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 03

Google is in talks to buy the hot microblogging service Twitter, according to Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, who cited two unnamed sources in a post late Thursday. How far along…

A Sign of Slowing Search Ad Spending

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 02

Search advertising is finally feeling the full impact of the weak economy, according to a new report out this morning from online marketing analytics firm Covario. In fact, search spending…

Another Google Killer Dies

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 31

When Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales launched his search service Wikia Search in late 2006, he was hoping to “fix Internet search by working to free the judgment of information from…

Pixazza “Product in the Picture” Service: AdSense for Images

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 25

Pixazza is looking to turn Web photos into money. It might just work. The startup, staffed by Netscape veterans with a $5.75 million Series A venture capital round, on Wednesday…

Will Fewer But Bigger Ads Rejuvenate Display Advertising?

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 10

With the ascendancy in recent years of search advertisements, the little snippets of commercial text that appear next to search results, display ads don’t get much respect these days. While…

WolframAlpha: A New Way To Search?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 09

Using semantics—the meaning of words rather than just the words themselves—as the basis of Web search has been a prime goal of researchers for some time, but except for limited…

LIVE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Speaks

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 03

At the Morgan Stanley technology conference, analyst Mary Meeker is interviewing Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. I’m listening on the Web, since media wasn’t invited to the conference. I think it’s…

Antitrust Suit Filed Against Google

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 17

Google is fast replacing Microsoft as everybody’s favorite antitrust target. Even the U.S. Justice Department last fall indicated it was ready to file an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant…

Yahoo Search Pad: Making Online Research Easier

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 04

When you’re researching something online, whether it’s a place you want to vacation or (like me) a subject you want to write about, it’s still not easy to collect…

Google Latitude: Tell Your Friends Where You Are

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 04

Ever wonder where your friends or your spouse or your child is? That’s the question Google hopes to answer for you with a new service launching Wednesday called Google…

LIVE: Google’s Fourth-Quarter Earnings Beat Expectations

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 22

Google’s much-anticipated fourth-quarter earnings are out, and it appears to have beat expectations that were muted thanks to the struggling economy and Google’s own recent cost-cutting moves. Google earned a…

Coming Shortly: Economic Acid Test for Google and Search Advertising

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 22

Now that Microsoft has an early answer to its fourth-quarter earnings—bad—tech investors turn their attention to the other behemoth that will report its earnings today: Google. Thanks to a flurry…

What New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Really Told the Troops

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 15

Yahoo’s stock fell more than 6% today as investors digested reports on what new CEO Carol Bartz told employees during an all-hands meeting yesterday. Some reports indicated she said her…

Google Loses Verizon Mobile Search Deal to Microsoft—But How Big a Loss Is It?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 08

Google just lost a big mobile search deal to Microsoft. On late Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the software giant’s Live Search will be the default search service on…

Another Year, Another Round of Microsoft-Yahoo Deal Scenarios

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 07

A group of Silicon Valley executives and investment bankers is ginning up a new proposal to buy Yahoo, according to TechCrunch: Under the terms of the proposed deal, the investment…

Kosmix, “Your Guide to the Web,” Gets $20 Million, Launches Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 08

Armed with an additional $20 million in funding, Kosmix is looking to expand its vision of how best to provide people a map to the World Wide Web. No, Kosmix…

Hmm, Could Search (Meaning Google) Actually Buck the Economy?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 25

Two new reports appear to indicate that search—and by extension Google—might do better despite the tanking economy than investors may think. And investors are bearish indeed. Google’s stock fell again…

Google Launches SearchWiki for Customized Search Results

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 20

After almost a year of testing and some recent early sightings, Google today is planning to launch SearchWiki, a way for searchers to edit their own search results. When you…

Jerry Yang to Step Down As Yahoo CEO; Will Microsoft Return?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 17

Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang will step down as CEO as soon as a successor is found, the embattled Internet company just announced. The release (quoted in full after…

Google Ends Search Advertising Deal with Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 05

After four months of wrangling with the Justice Department, Google has ditched its search advertising deal with Yahoo. The move, announced unilaterally by Google, had been widely expected in recent…

Searching for a New President: Obama Wins on Search Engine Optimization

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 04

If Barack Obama wins the election today, will it be because his Web geeks know how to do search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO? Of course not, but apparently…

Report: Google, Yahoo Revise Search Advertising Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 03

Google and Yahoo have made major concessions in their proposed search advertising deal in hopes of getting the Justice Department to go along with it, according to a Wall Street…

Will the Google-Yahoo Deal Happen? Who Knows?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 30

According to a just-posted story in the Journal, the likelihood that Google and Yahoo will walk away from their controversial search advertising deal has risen, as talks with the Justice…

Jimmy Wales’ Wikia Search Project Launches Apps

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 08

In the latest of many attempts by a wide variety of players to improve search results beyond Google’s iconic 10 blue links, the community information service Wikia Inc. on Oct….

Yahoo Defends Google Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 11

As part of a three-hour media day today, a Yahoo executive offered an interesting defense of the company’s pending search deal with Google. That deal, which was supposed to start…

VIDEO: Marissa Mayer on Newspaper Archives, Future of Google Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 09

Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products & user experience, introduced a new Google feature Monday, a project to bring historical print newspaper archives online. Using the scanning technology…

Is Justice Planning to Go After Google?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 08

So it sounds like in a story in the Wall Street Journal, which says the Justice Dept. has just hired a hotshot litigator to look into Google’s power in online…

Is the Google-Yahoo Deal Really a Bad Thing?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 08

That’s what advertisers think, according to the trade group Association of National Advertisers. The ANA on Sunday filed a letter to the Justice Dept., recommending against the deal under which…

LIVE from the Googleplex: Chrome Browser Launches

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 02

Google’s about to brief a gazillion of us reporters about its much-discussed Chrome Web browser, now ready for download here. I wrote my initial thoughts yesterday, and you can get…

Is Microsoft’s Vision of Search Enough to Catch Google?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 19

Short answer: No. Not even close. Not for a long time, anyway. But it’s sure trying hard, and it would be dangerous for anyone to write off Microsoft. Its…

LIVE from Yahoo’s Annual Meeting

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 01

Yahoo’s long-awaited (or long-dreaded) annual shareholders meeting is about to begin, and wireless gods willing, I’ll be liveblogging the proceedings—even if they aren’t expected to be very exciting. You can…

Cuil: Another Google Challenger Launches—to a Cool Reception

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 28

Just weeks after the last highly touted Google challenger, Powerset, was snapped up by Microsoft, a new one is launching Sunday night. Cuil (pronounced “cool” and previously sporting an additional…

Yahoo (YHOO) Second-Quarter Earnings Fall Short

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 22

Most people had expected Yahoo to pull out all the stops to make its second quarter, but if it did, the pulling didn’t work. In its just-released report, Yahoo said…

Yahoo Settles Proxy Fight With Icahn; What’s Next?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 21

After months of battle with activist shareholder Carl Icahn, Yahoo has finally settled the proxy battle that had roiled the company for months. (Full text of the release and the…

Bolstered by Major Shareholder’s Support, Yahoo Comes Out Swinging

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 18

With its annual meeting looming in just two weeks, Yahoo is ratcheting up its defense against Carl Icahn’s proxy fight with an energy critics wish they’d seen for the…

A Rare Miss for Google (GOOG) on Second-Quarter Earnings

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 17

My quick take on Google’s second-quarter earnings (full release after the jump and updates from conference call below): It’s a miss, though not a huge one. My full story is…

Google Second-Quarter Earnings Coming Up

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 17

I’ll have a quick take on Google’s second quarter earnings as soon as they’re released shortly after 1 p.m. Pacific time. I’ll add key comments from the conference call and…

Yahoo Fires at Microsoft Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 17

As the days wind down to Yahoo’s Aug. 1 annual meeting, you can expect an escalating war of words among Yahoo, would-be dealmaker Microsoft, and corporate activist Carl Icahn. The…

Microsoft Still Searching for Yahoo Search Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 15

Despite Yahoo’s rejection of a new search deal offer from Microsoft last week—one that went over like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl with some shareholders—the software giant this time…

Tit for Tat: Microsoft and Icahn “Set the Record Straight”

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

Yahoo came out swinging yesterday and today with an impassioned defense of its rejection of Microsoft’s latest offer, an improved bid for Yahoo’s search operations. Now, Microsoft has fired back…

Fancy That: Yahoo’s Actually Getting Some Support for a Change

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

After months of getting reamed out by shareholders and assorted pundits for supposedly blowing the Microsoft deal, Yahoo finally has managed to get some sympathy. It may simply be that…

Yahoo Rejects Microsoft-Icahn Search Bid—But Was It a Serious Bid?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 13

Yahoo has rejected yet another bid to buy its search operations, this time a combined, take-it-or-leave-it offer from Microsoft and activist investor Carl Icahn. The embattled Internet pioneer said the…

Yahoo Debuts “Build Your Own Search Service”

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 10

As Google keeps growing its share of search queries, it’s hard not to wonder if anything’s going to slow it down. Tonight, Yahoo is throwing up a long pass in…

Microsoft: We Might Buy Yahoo If Shareholders Fire Board

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 07

The pressure for Yahoo to knuckle under and do a deal with Microsoft just keeps rising. This morning, Microsoft said in a statement that it’s willing to return to the…

Yahoo’s Reorg Goes Down: Less of the Same?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 26

Despite advance criticisms involving the words “deck chairs” and “Titanic,” Yahoo today announced the reorganization of its management ranks that had been expected for more than a week. Rising to…

Yahoo to Stockholders: We Know What We’re Doing, Really!

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 25

As Yahoo’s top management prepares for a last-ditch roadshow to persuade big investors they should reject Carl Icahn’s slate and vote for Yahoo’s existing board, the company has released a…

Has Microsoft Really Given Up On Yahoo As Google Search Deal Looms?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 12

UPDATE 2: After the jump, below, is a draft of a story that will run later tonight. The key takeaway: Google wins big again. The other takeaway: Yahoo’s not getting…

Microsoft Tries to Get Search Traffic by Paying Users

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 21

Microsoft on Wednesday is launching its latest attempt to make a dent in Google’s dominant market share in search and raise its currently single-digit percentage of search queries: Live Search…

Microsoft Proposes Search Deal With Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 18

Microsoft has proposed to Yahoo that it ally on a “transaction” that is something short of the full acquisition that Microsoft abandoned on May 3. Although the companies aren’t detailing…

Not-Just-A-Search-Engine Powerset Launches Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12

After a couple of years of anticipation, the upstart search engine-plus Powerset is launching on Monday to the public in limited form—limited not just in being in beta test but…

The Real Reason Behind Google’s Challenges

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 04

Forget about the economy. I just discovered a new reason why Google might be slowing down. It’s those lefties running the place. Here’s a sampling of some astute analysis from…

A Few Answers on’s New Strategy

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 05

Update below… Another Google competitor bites the dust: basically has thrown in the towel on competing with the search giant, laying off 8% of its work force, or 40…

Google’s Search Rivals Keep Trying Harder

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

… or are they just tilting at windmills? In recent weeks and months, Google’s major rivals, such as Microsoft and IAC’s Ask unit, not to mention upstarts like Powerset…

Proximic Aims High with New Search and Ad Technology

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

We’re all so trained to typing a couple of keywords into Google that we forget there are other ways of searching for and finding stuff online. A few upstarts such…

Spock’s People Search Launches Public Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 08

After a huge buildup thanks to a long private-beta period, Spock is finally taking its people search engine public this morning, at least in beta mode. Although I’ve seen a…

Jimmy Wales’ Search Project Gets a Grub Stake

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 27

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is moving another step closer to creating an open alternative to Google’s search engine. Announced last December, the Search Wikia project is committed to “fix Internet…

Fancy That! Google Misses on Earnings

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 19

Everybody knew Google was spending big bucks on everything from data centers to acquisitions. But investors, who have bid the stock up 20% so far this year, clearly had been…

Ask3D: Answers Google With Something Different

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 04

You have to hand it to It’s not rolling over in the face of Google’s rising dominance in search, even as some folks wonder if other rivals like Yahoo!…

Is Google Too Powerful?

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 29

That’s what the BW cover story this week is asking—or more accurately, my story examines the deeper meaning behind complaints about Google’s power and influence online. Those complaints are…

Google Logs New Data Privacy Policy

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 14

Google and other online services have long been criticized for collecting unimaginable amounts of data on its users, such as what they’ve searched for. And many of them keep that…

Google Fights Click Fraud—Perceptions, Mostly

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 28

Google soon will introduce some new tools to fight click fraud, such as the ability to blacklist suspected fraudsters and prevent them from even viewing ads to click on. But…

Google Loses, or Did the Belgian Newspapers?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 13

Google has lost a case brought by Belgian newspapers, potentially forcing it to exclude the newspapers’ material from Google News, at least in Belgium. John Battelle and Danny Sullivan have…

Search Upstart Powerset Teams with PARC Vs. Google

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09

Powerset, the natural-language search startup I wrote about in my story on’s digital-utility initiatives, has signed a deal with the (former Xerox) PARC in an attempt to one-up Google…

FAST Offers Publishers a Google AdSense Alternative

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 05

Google has offered struggling newspapers and other publishers a Faustian bargain. Through the search giant’s AdSense programs, ads get placed on their sites, bringing in revenue that they wouldn’t have…

Yahoo Disappoints Again… Oops, Strike That. Panama’s on Track

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 23

After a year of trying to gain lost ground on the likes of Google and MySpace, Yahoo’s still not out of the woods. Despite posting better-than-expected earnings of 19 cents…

Search Ads: Is the Little Guy Getting Left Behind?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 12

That’s the conclusion of some small and medium-sized online retailers I talked to recently. Andy Beal, whom I quoted in a magazine story this week, takes the trend to its…

Google Rival Hopes for Its Turn

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 06

Who’s crazy enough to try to take on Google’s fearsome ad network? A little startup called Turn Inc., which my colleague Steve Baker had written about way back in February….

Google Moves Further Into Print

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 06

As if its commanding role in online ads isn’t enough, Google is driving further into print ads with a new test of a system to let advertisers bid on space…

Pimp Your Google Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 24

Google on Tuesday will announce a way to customize your Google searches through a new feature called Google Co-op: Build and customize your own search engine * Specify the…

Deep 6 for A9 Features

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 03 is throwing in the towel on at least some features of its A9 search site, a perennial underformer in the search engine wars. Its Yellow Pages, with millions…

Growing Concerns over Click Fraud

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 22

My colleagues Brian Grow and Ben Elgin take a fascinating dive into click fraud, concluding: A BusinessWeek investigation has revealed a thriving click-fraud underground populated by swarms of small-time…

Web 2.0 Ads: Another Sign of a Bubble?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 05

I wish Om Malik the best with his new tech news gig, and I bet he’ll find (or keep, I should say) a sizable audience. But I think even he…

Dailies Strike Back: Too Little Too Late?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

My colleague Jon Fine has an interesting column this week that breaks news about discussions between Yahoo! and newspaper publishers MediaNews (owner of the San Jose Mercury News) and Hearst…

Baynote: The Search Beat Goes On

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 13

Lots of people assume Google will be the last word in search, but I think it’s kind of early to assume that. One more sign that search ain’t over yet…

How Do You Shop Online?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 03

I’ve been noticing how many new kinds of e-commerce venues are sprouting up lately, from the fledgling Google Base and classified-ad startups like Edgeio and to upcoming offerings from…

Google Steals CEO at Amazon’s A9

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 07

Via a post from John Battelle, I see that Udi Manber has left as CEO of’s A9 search operation in Palo Alto to join Google. Amazon just put out…

Wink: People-Powered Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 22

The new “people-powered search engine,” Wink, has just launched its public beta. In CEO Michael Tanne’s own words: Wink is a different kind of search engine - one that searches…

Why Was Google So Desperate for AOL?

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 18

I don’t get it. Here’s a company that seems to have everything going for it—absurdly high revenue growth and profits and a $127 billion market cap. But according to this…

Amazon Thinks Out of the Search Box, Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 13

If you haven’t been watching what Amazon’s doing outside its famous Web store, you’ve been missing a lot. Its search site offers some pretty neat tools for searching specific…

Yahoo! Answers: Search with a Human Touch

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 07

Just launched in beta, Yahoo! Answers is a place where you can ask questions on any topic and get answers from real people. It’s free, presumably funded by sponsored ads….

Lawsuit Against Google Print: The End of the Internet?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 21

Kevin Werbach has an alarming view of the lawsuit against Google Print by publishers, including BusinessWeek owner McGraw-Hill. I don’t know who’s on better legal ground, but Werbach notes: On…

Finally, Better Blog Search?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 14

TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington got what appears to be one of the first looks at Sphere, a new blog search service that the general public won’t be able to see for… Searching

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 11

Chris Pirillo has debuted a new meta-search engine, Apparently, it’s getting hit pretty hard, so the performance isn’t yet up to snuff, but if he gets that straightened out,…

New from Yahoo Research: Intent-Driven Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 07

Folks from Yahoo Research showed one of the many projects they have in beta—Mindset, which Yahoo says is for “intent-driven search.” It lets you use a slider bar on searches…

Barry Diller’s Dreams

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 05

Web 2.0 conference coproducer John Battelle is asking IAC’s Barry Diller why he bought the search engine Ask. Diller paints it not as a defensive move but an offensive one….

Rollyo Own Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 04

Dave Pell stopped by today to tell me about his new venture, Rollyo. The four-month-old startup lets you “roll your own search engine” by choosing precisely which sites to search….

Separated at Birth?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 28

Thanks to dg for noticing the resemblance between IAC’s Barry Diller and the erstwhile mascot for his recently acquired search engine, Ask Jeeves. Perhaps Mr. Diller didn’t want anyone…

A New Approach to Searching Photos

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 25

Munjal Shah, onetime cofounder of the auction services firm Andale, finally let slip on his new blog what he’s been working on since leaving last year. As he writes: “I… Maps: Picture This

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 15

Just as maps are becoming one of the Web’s prime places for innovation to flower,’s is joining the fray. On Monday night—actually Monday afternoon, if you happened to…

Web Search’s Future: Anything but Text

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 31

New search engines are experimenting with animation and even voice searches.

Google Vs. TV

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 24

No contest, according to one stat from the latest Forrester Research/ survey of online retail: Average percentage of new customers acquired from the following sources: Search engine marketing: 43% Offline…

If It Quacks Like a Duck…

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 19

Google seems to be taking great pains to avoid calling its new personalized home page a portal, but I’m not sure the semantic gyrations matter. It’s a portal! So what…

Google and Dodgeball: A Bite Out of Local Media?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12

Dan Gillmor spies an interesting post by Steve Yelvington at Poynteronline on the upshot of Google buying Dodgeball, which helps friends link up with each other via cell phone…

But Don’t Forget Google and Yahoo!

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 15

Lest that last post make it sound like Amazon’s is the only one advancing the state of search, Google and Yahoo! clearly are moving ahead fast as well. ……

Searching for Jeff Bezos

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 15

For years, CEO Jeff Bezos has attended O’Reilly & Associates’ Emerging Technology conference for fun, but today he played demo god for the overflow audience in San Diego….

Google Desktop Search: Yawn?

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 07

I’ve found Google’s just-outta-beta desktop search tool pretty useful, if not perfect. But Dave Winer makes some pithy arguments against hailing it as a big deal, let alone a blow…

A red flag for Google?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 02

So Google thinks there are no signs of resistance to online ad rates that have risen 25% in the past year? Perhaps they need to keep their ears closer to…

What Amazon’s A9 might have up its sleeve

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 27

After reflecting a bit on the new online Yellow Pages from’s search subsidiary, I’m beginning to think there’s a lot more to this offering than meets the eye….

Search: Take it or leave it?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

Search is often considered one of the very few online activities, ranking right up there with e-mail, that people can’t live without. But surprisingly, a new report from the Pew…


BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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