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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Yahoo fires latest salvos in Search Engine War

 

Yahoo has been on an upgrading spree recently with a major acquisition, two major upgrades and a beta-release of a new blogging tool. It’s no secret the execs and techs at Yahoo have been working overtime to re-brand and upgrade Yahoo’s various services. Yahoo has made several major announcements over the past four weeks, a measure of how active they have been recently. Here is a quick rundown of the four major announcements made in the past seven days.

Over the weekend, Yahoo completed its purchase of photo-sharing software developer, Flickr. Based in Vancouver BC, Flickr offers users an all-in-one storage, publication and sharing package for digital photo albums. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Yahoo plans to continue operating Flickr as a stand-alone while it works to integrate its technologies into its various search features. Flickr staff will be moving 1600km south from Vancouver to Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale later this year.

Along with its purchase of Flickr, Yahoo is upgrading two user-loyalty services it offers in competition with rivals Google and MSN.

Late Tuesday, Yahoo announced it would be quadrupling the storage space for Yahoo Email users from 250-megs to 1-gig starting in mid-April. The increase places Yahoo beside Google in the online Email storage size war. One year ago when Google released its beta version of Gmail (with 1-gig storage), both Yahoo Mail and MSN’s Hotmail only offered 4-megs per account, an amount that each provider quickly upgraded to their current 250-meg allowances.

In a separate announcement, Yahoo also released the newest version of its desktop search software. Yahoo Desktop which is licensed by X1 Technologies will now be able to access Yahoo Mail documents along with conversations held using Yahoo Messenger (instant messaging application).

By expanding the functions of its Email and desktop search features, Yahoo is trying to even a few of the playing fields Google currently dominates. Another field is the growing bloggosphere where Google’s Blogger is the most popular blogging software owned by one of the major search engines.

Last week, Yahoo released a beta version of its own blogging tool, Yahoo360, which blends long-term Yahoo features such as Internet radio (audio-blogs), IM and photo sharing (to be enhanced by Flickr).

This has been a good week for Yahoo. It has seriously upgraded its feature services and, as search engine user stats released yesterday by Search Engine Watch attest, is holding its position against Google and MSN in all fields. Perhaps Yahoo can gain some ground now that some of those fields are being leveled.


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