Buzz Off, Google Buzz

Like many of you out there, I turned Google Buzz on the second I was able to give it a go. When Google releases a product, it’s a bit like when Apple releases something new. Everybody lines up around the block and camps out for days on the concrete to get their hands on it. And just like those Apple addicts, we all should have just waited for the, ahem, buzz on Buzz to die down.

Turns out, Buzz was a bit of a buzz-kill.  (I’m going overboard on the puns, but I can’t help it.)  First and foremost, it had/has some very serious privacy concerns that caused an uproar among the more intelligent early adopters.  Further, it doesn’t add anything new to the market.  What it did do was tie a few other Google products together along with several of the more popular social apps like Twitter.  Whoopty Do.  There was no significant difference that it brought to the table.  What it really comes down to is Google doing something they don’t usually do.  Playing Catch-up.

As far as Buzz  is concerned, Google is to social media as Microsoft is to Search.  Always the bastard child that’s late to the party.  Everybody knows that you’ll never get to dance with the prom queen that way.  Google needs to go back to being innovative.  I’m beginning to wonder if Google, like Microsoft, hasn’t taken the complacency path for corporate development.  Let everybody else do the hard research and then just buy them up.  It’s worked well for Microsoft hasn’t it?  (I’m only being slightly tongue-in-cheek here.)

Bottom line for me, I don’t need yet another social app begging for my time.  I turned Buzz off.

Microsoft and Yahoo from a SEO/PPC/OnlineTrepreneur Perspective

Much has been said about the potential merging of Microsoft and Yahoo.  The talk has been exceptionally heavy in the last month or so.  I’ve talked about it here once or twice and probably will again.  But most of the talk has been around the technology ramifications of the merger.  The changes that would occur in search market share and what it would mean for Google.  But what about us?  What about the online entrepreneur? 

We do SEO, PPC and various other things that could be affected by a merger of Microsoft and Yahoo.  What changes can we expect from this merger if it were to happen?  Here’s how I see it going down.

In the world of SEO, it narrows things down a bit.  Instead of everybody trying to do the SEO for all three of the search engines, they only have two major ones.  Of course, I’m of the camp that thinks that you follow a few tenets and don’t worry about what any one individual search engine wants, so that doesn’t change much for me. 

From a PPC perspective, things will (regardless) change.  Even without the merger, things are changing.  Yahoo maybe in talks to test out using Google for search advertising.  I’d be surprised if it didn’t happen as it would be a major blow to Microsoft and when was the last time Google passed that up.  And Yahoo is unlikely to pass it up just out of spite.  If, however, the merger were to go through, it would form a viable competitor to the Google advertising engine.  Suddenly, choosing between the two would become a little less obvious.  Some don’t choose now, but there are many that only use one of the engines. 

As an Online Entrepreneur, the merger could mean several things.  The most obvious is a healthy alternative to anything Google.  For those that would actively rebel against The Great Googely Moogely, a merger could be very good.  Another, less positive, way to think about the merger would be the elimination of choice.  Instead of three engines, we would only have two.  There are many that can’t stand either Google or Microsoft and actively try to use Yahoo and others whenever possible.  The merger would cause there to only be two large choices.  The rest would be table scraps and not push enough traffic to worry about.

In the end, I can’t say whether the merger will go through or not.  Yahoo doesn’t seem to be very receptive and also seems to be getting quite a bit of help in thwarting the “attack”.  Microsoft, on the other hand, doesn’t seem all that willing to give up.  And let’s face it; Microsoft usually doesn’t give up.  They’ve lost a couple of times, but rarely do they give up.

Let Sleeping MSFTs Lie

Google’s Sergey Brin seems to think that he needs to speak out against the MSFT/Yahoo! merger that may or may not happen in the near to distant future.

“The Internet has evolved from open standards, having a diversity of companies. And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving,” Brin said.

I had to chuckle a little when I read that. I agree with Brin, but that could just as easily describe Google as it does Microsoft. The only real difference is that Google doesn’t have a retail version of the GooglOS that they run in the Googleplex. They certainly control some browsers. Just as many as MS does with IE I’d wager. And as far as tyeing up the top web sites, take a close look at the Digital Point forums next time Google does an update of their PageRank. When you tie up 60%+ of the search engine traffic, that affects the top Web sites much more than a simple difference in browser engines. And lets not get started on manipulation that is possible.

All of this is a play on people’s fears of a Microsoft Monopoly. The problem with the logic is that a merger of MSFT and YHOO doesn’t create a monopoly. It eats into one. It creates a very valid competitor in the search venue. And after a few years of Google encroaching on Microsofts territory (see Google Docs), it scares Google to see the giant awakened.

You see, the old business folks know that if you find yourself toe to toe with a competitor and you don’t possess the tools to fight that competitor, you partner yourself with someone who does. Microsoft has been struggling to keep up with Google and other online innovators for quite some time. The problem is that Microsoft had been mostly content to leave Google in it’s place of power for search and go about their business struggling to move into that arena. Then Google started getting into Microsoft’s neighborhood with Google Docs and next thing you know, Microsoft is on the attack.

If you ask me, Google should have just let sleeping MSFTs lie.

Disclaimer: I own MSFT shares, but not enough to care…