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Yahoo! and Google
Yahoo! and Google are the two most popular search engines in the world, each pulling over a hundred million visitors a month. For a long time, Yahoo! was the internet's most visited site, but it is alleged that Google has recently overtaken them. Google have the greatest proportion of search traffic in the UK, whilst Yahoo! dominates the US search engine market. There are several possible reasons for this, perhaps because in the UK, most web users will visit the BBC website for news bulletins and articles, whilst in America, users rely more heavily on Yahoo! for news and current affairs. Yahoo! also offers users a portal to various features such as Yahoo!'s webmail service, classifieds, networking features and other functions.
Google originally powered Yahoo!'s search engine results, until Yahoo! severed ties in 2004, when Google was becoming a clear competitor. Commentators have frequently noted differences in the general ethos of the two companies. Yahoo!'s CEO Terry Semel seems to have a far more active role in the business than the original founders. Although Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, officially holds the reins, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who started out in 1996 with a research project which eventually grew into the search engine giant, still play prominent parts in the running of the company. Yahoo!'s operations are built on strict business sense at the hands of their highly experienced CEO, whilst Google's techniques seem to be more fluid, allowing their engineers a day every week to work on a personal project, in the hopes of spawning more products like Google News and Google Talk.
Yahoo!'s pages feature more graphical advertising and the search engine has been billed as the best for large, well-branded companies to target, because of this glamorous visual aspect which can play on a trademark's popularity. Google's minimalist, graphics-light presentation, meanwhile, is more focused on search and search alone, meaning that visitors looking for products and services which are not brand-specific might find it more useful.
Constantly vying with one another for popularity and advertising dollars, the battle between Google and Yahoo! looks set to continue for a while. Yahoo!, dominant for so long, may now have to step up its operation to keep up with Google, as new products are being released at an incredible pace, with rumours of a Google web browser already circulating.
By Natalie Catchpole