Monday, October 10, 2005

Google vs. Yahoo - Who's #1?

That's a big question these days, and it's starting to matter more and more in the IP space. Who'd ever have thought companies with such corny names would ever strike fear into the RBOC's hearts, and even Microsoft? God forbid a merger - what would we make of a colossus named GooHoo or YaGoo? Stranger things have happened.

I'm a member of the ChangeWave Alliance, which publishes some pretty interesting investor-focused research. Some of their research is based on snapshot polls of members on various topics. The latest is about how members use Google and Yahoo. This is a pretty Internet-savvy crowd, so I'd have to think these findings have merit.

Now, as a matter of course, I'm not allowed to share their data publicly, but I think I'm OK passing on a few high level findings, which I'm sure would be validated by other studies of a similar nature. The findings are based on data from over 2,000 members, so the research has substance.

When comparing how the two are used, it's interesting to see how the profiles differ.

Google is used more than Yahoo for....

- searches
- toolbars
- maps

Yahoo is used more than Google for....

- home page
- news
- finance info
- email

There's quite a bit of data around these findings, and it's all quite interesting to people like me - but it's not my place to publish the numbers. That said, I think the above still tells a good story, and it strikes me that there's a higher value-add to what people use Google for than Yahoo. Actually, the research also talks about how usage patterns have changed from a year ago, and some of this supports my view here.

I suspect neither Google nor Yahoo will come to single-handedly dominate all of these facets - there are just too many ways to utilize the Internet. It's a bit like the network infrastructure vendors - nobody has all the pieces, not even Cisco, who could probably buy up all the vendors if they wanted to.

If I was a betting man, though, I'd put my money on Google. Anyone savvy enough to bring Vint Cerf aboard must have a pretty good clue about where the Internet is going and how to make money along the way.

If you want to talk more about the research, or learn more about ChangeWave, please drop me a line -

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