A whole bunch of people at work today asked me if I had seen a recent posting on the Google Blog News Channel: What Search Engines Do Search Engine Companies Use?
That posting summarizes a lot of data from VisitorVille Intelligence, specifically looking at which search companies use which search services.
The thing that everyone seemed to notice was this:
Finally, at Yahoo, 68.9% of employees use Yahoo, but a still-strong 29.8% use Google (compare that to Google’s 100% loyalty). 81.2% use IE (13% some form of Mozilla). Only 4% of Yahoo’s computers run Linux, and that’s only market share stolen from Windows 98, not any of the newer versions.
I see two problems with this.
First off, I'm pretty sure that the data collected is not able to distinguish one employee from the next. I just looked at their data collection page and read this:
There is some data that we do not aggregate. For example, we do not collect information on search terms used. We also do not aggregate information on what specific pages or websites people visit.
Huh? Are search engines not also web sites?
Putting that apparent contradiction aside, there's a big difference between saying "55% of Yahoo employee's searches are on blah" and "55% of Yahoo employees search on blah."
Anyway, the next problem I see is what that 100% Google figure. That seems to imply that Google never bothers to check out the competition. Is that really true? I know for a fact that it's not.
So where are all those hits counted? They aren't I guess. Maybe they're only allowed to browse Yahoo from home? Or they are more careful to mask their activities? (Not hard to do with a proxy.)
Personally, I run most of my searches on at least two search engines (the two that matter) so I can see how they differ. But maybe I'm just weird. I'm not sure why anyone working for a search company would do such a crazy thing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't have much faith in those numbers.
Posted by jzawodn at January 05, 2005 11:03 PM