15 August, 2007

Does Yahoo really beat Google?

For the first time, Google has lost its crown to Yahoo as the highest-rated search and portal site in a key customer satisfaction survey. That's according to a study by the University of Michigan. Since 2002, when the University of Michigan first began tracking Google in its American Customer Satisfaction Index, Google has led the pack for e-business sites, which the ACSE defines as portals, search engines, and news and information sites. But this year, Yahoo beat Google. Or so, the study says.

Does that mean Google has been ousted as the top search engine? I decided to put this to the test. I have just searched for: 'Hadhramout', 'Hadhramaut', 'Mukalla', 'Maldives', The Iliad and 'DNA' on both Google and Yahoo. And well, I agree that Yahoo has very much improved in giving relevant results, but I still find that Google has an edge; very little, but it still leads. The results for all those searches that Google gave, were much closer to what I was looking for than Yahoo's. Still, I am surprised at the improvement that Yahoo has made; it has made great strides and almost caught up with Google. I also notice that: Yahoo is now 10 out of 10 in Google's own page rank checker; a few moths ago it wasn't. If Google doesn't watch out, it will not be only an American university's study that states that Yahoo is leading; it will be a fact. A fact accepted by most Internet users. And as most of us using the Internet are after satisfaction and the best, Yahoo will become our preferred top search engine. Can Yahoo be so? Can Yahoo be my most preferred one?

Personally, it will take a much better improvement from Yahoo, for me to prefer it over Google. One thing that the study didn't mention, is that Yahoo's results interface looks very much like that of Google's: the same font colors, same style and even with the ads on the side bar. Yahoo, has, in a way - copied and duplicated Google. Which means Yahoo is still intimidated by the super G. The report too, seems to have over looked other superb search engines like: Ask.com and Clusty. Many times, I have preferred these two after Google; and not Yahoo. Many times too, I turn to Windows Live, especially for image search; I find Live leads in that. It should not be forgotten too, that Google has many other products, services and features that neither Yahoo nor Microsoft have been able to replicate, let alone over take. It's the overall Google many useful and user friendly products, that makes it so powerful and irreplaceable for most of us Internet users.

Don't forget: we have heard this before - always in relation to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. Many times, I have read or heard how Microsoft or Yahoo - is edging closer to Google. Or almost beating Google, in one product, one feature or another. A 'new survey' in 2005 stated that; when Windows Live launched last year, Microsoft top officials were stating out right that - it would in a few months over take Google. And still we have today, Google, overall, leading. And I have no doubt at all: come 2008, 2010 and beyond - Google will still be leading. Honestly, I don't see any truly strong competitor to Google now. Those guys at Gooleplex, Mountain View - are still leading in creativity and churning out useful, easy to use products. And improving those already in use and making them even better. It will be a long, long time before we see Google over taken. If it will ever be in my life time.