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June 16, 2006

Friday Recap 06/16/2006

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It’s been a tough week for Microsoft fans. First their beloved Scoble announced he was ending his reign as Microsoft’s technical evangelist to join Valley-based startup PodTech.net. Then, yesterday Bill Gates announced his own impending departure from Microsoft as he begins the two year process of transferring his Chief Software Architect duties to Ray Ozzie. Who will the Window fanatics rally behind now? Ballmer? Doubtful. Most insiders have Ballmer bowing out in two to five years.

As a testament to the power of blogging, Scoble’s exit received considerably more coverage and sparked far more emotion than Gates. The numbers tell the story. While we’ll miss hearing about Microsoft through Scoble’s honest eyes, we wish him the best over at PodTech. Poor, Chris Coulter. What on earth will he do now?

Reporters Without Borders found Yahoo! to be the worst offender in censorship tests among the search engines, even beating out local Chinese engine Baidu. The results are interesting but the “test’s” methodology is somewhat suspect. They only queried six terms and only looked at the top ten results. I’d be interested in seeing this test with an expanded list of test terms and results.

Google will buy the more than 978,000 square feet of land that the Googleplex stands on, according to a filing released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Google will pay $319 million for the property, as well as $315,000 a month for a ground lease fees. Yowsa.

MySpace has a plan: To keep users firmly planted and increase revenue, the social networking site will auction off its search space to a major search operator. Google, Yahoo! and MSN are all expected to put in bids for the job, and MySpace will (presumably) pick the engine who gives them the best offer. A rather nice position indeed.

Economist.com had a great article yesterday comparing Google, Yahoo!, MSN and our Ask. When Ask’s Jim Lanzone was asked how his engine would topple Google’s increasing inertia, he responded he would use “search aikido” to use their momentum against them. I love Ask.

Phil Lenssen created a list of Google OneBox results he’d like to see including OneBoxes for social profiles, Google Answers, Chat With A Googler, Instant Recipes and others. It amuses me how demanding people have gotten with OneBoxes. We’ve grown from wanting sites chock-full of relevant information to just wanting a #!*$ answer.

While I vastly enjoy Phil’s finds, his rather long list of Google employee’s Orkut pages concerns me. Seriously, he lists twenty of them. Twenty!

Business Week wrote a profile on Google’s Marissa Mayer, complete with a full timeline of Marissa’s day, and showed me why I will never be a vice president at Google – I require more than five hours of sleep to function and look pretty. And while I’m slightly jealous that Marissa gets to sleep in until 8am (!!), it comforts me to know she only lasts 45 minutes at the gym. I could totally take her.

When you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, we would encourage you to check out the histogram of the Search Engine Relationship Chart┬«. Remember when Overture was the King of Paid Search? Or when the Search Engine Relationship Chart┬« looked like a game of Twister gone wrong, instead of the precision-based diagram it is today? Where else can you visually track the Web’s growth and many changes? Nowhere, I say.

Are you having trouble clearly reading this? IS THIS BETTER? If so, you may want to trek over to Big.com and try out their big font search engine. Searchers can select between a big, bigger and biggest font size. It’s the search equivalent to those big buttoned phones you’re likely to find in your great aunt’s Brooklyn apartment. Or was that just mine?

Feel like talking to yourself but afraid your coworkers will stare? Try the Anagram Chat that mimics back what you type in true anagram form. I asked it how it was doing today and it said something mean about Yahoo. Heh. (If you don’t know what an anagram is: First, shame on you. Second, go here.)

Also interesting, clever Vincent Ferrari recorded what happened when he tried to cancel his AOL service. What ensued is amazing. Or horrifying. I’m not sure which. AOL says they have since fired their horrendous customer service rep. That doesn’t mean they’re not employing a million more like him.

Oh, and congratulations to Nathan Weinberg who got married on Wednesday. Sending you lots of love from the Bruce Clay, Inc. gang!

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