Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yahoo! It, Yahoo!ing, Yahoo!ed

Today's New York Times included an article about Yahoo!'s pitch to gain ground on the popular search engine Google. I got snagged on the premise suggested by the article's title: "The Search Engine That Isn't a Verb, Yet." Another way: Yahoo! will scale to new grandeur when its name gets used as a verb--a term to singularly describe the vast actions of web searching. How would that sound?

Last week, Yahoo finally replaced Google's search results with its home-brewed search engine, which uses a robot, called Slurp, to read Web pages. Experts say Yahoo's new search engine is credible and roughly comparable to Google's. And more important, Yahoo appears committed to the sort of engineering work that is needed to improve the quality of Web searches.

So the tech's in place. Slurp? Yes, Slurp will suck up what's left in the bottom of the search cauldron, yield its dregish results just fine. But until Yahoo! gets an "I'm feeling lucky!" button, well, there's not much to compare. Plus, with a name like Yahoo!, I can't imagine using it as a verb any time soon. Maybe it's the voiceless consonants. As long as Google's pair of hard |g|s are soliciting search queries, that's where my action will remain. Yahoo! chief exec Terry Semel regards his company's latest venture as a bona fide contender in the all-or-nothing clash of the search engines, a kind of Algorithm Smack Down. From the article: "Mr. Semel, characteristically, declined to talk about Google or any other competitors, just as he would not discuss battles of media titans. But that doesn't mean he is not competitive. 'I am not one who likes to be fashionable at the moment,' he said. 'I want to win the race.'" I'm not sure if I'll know, so will somebody tell me when the race is finished?

Bookmark and Share Posted by at February 22, 2004 9:00 PM to Slouching Toward