Would Google buy Yahoo? Could Google buy Yahoo? Who really cares? A better question is: What would happen if Google did buy Yahoo, and how would it affect the end user? I’ve seen so many bloggers and journalists dance around with the “Should Google”, “Could Google”, and “Would Google” questions. I find this sort of pragmatic speculation to be somewhat uninteresting. The reality may very well be that Google will never buy Yahoo, but it’s more fun to wonder what might happen if they did. Sometimes curiosity can be so much more entertaining than reality.
So, what would happen if Google bought Yahoo? Here are a few of my thoughts:
World Wide Web Domination – Google currently holds roughly 48% of the web based search market. Yahoo holds another 28%. Combine those numbers with the overall importance of web searching and you begin to appreciate the possibility of the big G’s World Wide Web domination! Google would command about 76% of the search market. For the end user this could actually be a good thing. Just think… no more frustrated grandmas wastefully struggling to find relevance in Yahoo’s search engine results.
Gmail Becomes King – Inferior or not, Yahoo Mail still holds the #1 position for being the most popular webmail service on the Internet. Combine the shear volume of Yahoo Mail users with the masterful design of Gmail and the world is bound to experience an explosion of productive emailing ecstasy.
Welcome to Google Messenger – Yahoo Messenger holds a solid 2nd place in the race for worldwide Instant Messaging market share. Google Talk is still the new kid on the block… growing rapidly, but not quite hitting mass market popularity just yet. However, the Google Talk client is exceptionally agile and feature rich. It uses minimal system resources and flawlessly integrates with Gmail by gracefully bridging the gap between email and instant messaging. Yahoo has attempted to follow Google’s lead (as they usually do), but they ultimately fall short of Google’s refined touch. Uniting the user volume of Yahoo Messenger with the elite craft of Google Talk could be a positive experience for everyone involved. This would really open up the pipeline of communication!
Google Answers… The Best of Both Worlds – Yahoo triumphed in the war of user driven Web 2.0 question and answer sites. Google took a shot at it with Google Answers, but it never caught on with the masses. Yahoo Answers, on the other hand, is still thriving. Yahoo won the battle because its service was free. It also didn’t hurt that Yahoo already commanded a massive user base from its Yahoo Mail and Messenger services. Yahoo users didn’t have to sign up for anything new. They could instantly start asking and answering questions with their current Yahoo accounts.
Google was actually trying to attract a totally different crowd. They were matching up qualified subject matter experts with people who had questions. The people asking questions would pay a small fee for receiving the guidance of an expert. Although this model had slight flaws, it created a searchable online database of questions and related expert advice. This searchable pool of advice is far more refined than most of the juvenile question and answer sessions cataloged on Yahoo Answers.
Imagine if they combined the two ideas, added Yahoo’s massive user base, and mix it up with some of Google’s creativity. The outcome would be enlightening!
Yahoo Finance Content with a Google Finance Touch – Yahoo Finance is based on the philosophy that “content is king”. It provides a great wealth of original content that easily rivals some of the biggest financial sites in the game (CNN Money, TheStreet.com, etc.). Google Finance attracts users with a set of refined Web 2.0 market analysis graphs/tools and associated relevant third-party content. These two worlds combined would be ideal for the thousands of investors that constantly jump back and forth. Think about it, expert financial advice combined with cutting edge Web 2.0 analysis tools. Toss in Google’s imaginative edge and you have a winner. We could all be making money more efficiently together!
Creative Minds Unite – Flickr and YouTube are two of the most prominent Web 2.0 communities in existence. Although they attract slightly different user demographics, they both rely heavily on the creativity and expression of their users. One deals with photos, the other deals with video. One is owned by Yahoo, the other by Google. If Google acquired Yahoo, Flickr and YouTube would become brothers. Would they play well together? If done right, I think they would. Combine Google’s inventive influence with the creative minds inhabiting two of the most popular Web 2.0 communities and I believe something remarkable could transpire.
Conclusion – Uniting elite technological genius (Google) with the kings of content (Yahoo) really would be an amazing merger from a technical, industry, and cultural standpoint. Call me crazy, but I’m a believer. Functionally, I think it would work pretty well.