Look out, Google: Amazon's eyeing your turf

Visit and you'll find a bevy of recommendations to fill your digital shopping cart: books similar to what you've read on your Kindle or clothes and gadgets based on what else you've looked at.

Now Amazon is tinkering with ad technology that would flash ads for you even when you're not on Amazon sites. And those ads might not even direct shopper back to Amazon's sites.

It's still early days, but if Amazon's new strategy plays out, it could become the Web's next advertising giant. Sure, it already serves up … Read more

Gmail edges Hotmail as world's top e-mail service

Google's Gmail is top dog in e-mail, according to ComScore, which tracks Web site traffic.

In data for October released by ComScore, Gmail saw 287.9 million unique worldwide visitors during the period, edging out Microsoft's Hotmail, which finished with 286.2 million unique visitors. The findings were first reported by GigaOm.

In third place was Yahoo, the once mighty e-mail power, with 281.7 million, according to ComScore. Yahoo, however, holds a comfortable lead in the United States with 76.7 million, compared to second-place Gmail with 69.1 million and third-place Hotmail with 35.5 million. … Read more

Google might face FTC search crackdown

The Federal Trade Commission wants to crack down on Google for using its search dominance to hurt rivals, according to a pair of reports published today.

Four of the FTC's five commissioners believe Google illegally used its position as the top search provider to hurt competition, according to a report from Reuters, which cites people familiar with the matter.

And The New York Times cited its own unnamed sources in reporting that the commission is preparing a 100-page staff memo recommending that the government sue.

The FTC, which has been investigating the situation for more than a year, will … Read more

Google reigns in search for September while Yahoo falls off

Surprise, surprise, Google is still the king of search in the U.S. In fact, any other search engine pales in user numbers comparison.

According to new data released by digital analytics company ComScore today, 66.7 percent of users core searches in September were on Google, which is 0.3 percent higher than August. Trailing behind were Microsoft's search engines, which got 15.9 percent of the market share, and Yahoo came in third with 12.2 percent -- which is down 0.6 percent from August.

Over the last year, Yahoo's share has been in a steady free-fall. … Read more

Google would like to snag Yahoo search deal from Microsoft

The search saga between Google and Yahoo may not be over after all.

Under a search-ad partnership proposed in 2008, Yahoo would have placed Google ads on some Yahoo search results, and the companies would have shared resulting revenue. However, Google was forced to scuttle the deal later that year in the face of growing antitrust concerns, allowing Microsoft to swoop in and strike a deal with Yahoo.

But apparently, Yahoo, which dumped Google as its default search technology provider in 2004, hasn't been far from the Web giant's thoughts.

During a launch event for Google's Nexus … Read more

Microsoft gives Yahoo top billing in ad rebranding

As reported earlier today on, Microsoft seems to have inadvertently tipped its plan to rename Microsoft Advertising to the "Yahoo Bing Network" and to rebrand its own online ads as "Bing Ads."

Update (September 10): Microsoft officials sent overnight the following clarification:" Microsoft Advertising is not changing branding. What was called the 'Search Alliance' is now the Yahoo Bing Network. AdCenter is being rebranded to Bing Ads." (AdCenter is Microsoft's search-based advertising tool.)

When I checked around 7 p.m. PT on September 9, Microsoft was displaying posts, a new Twitter accountRead more

Yahoo's 'resumegate' heats up

In today's show, Google takes the wheel, Microsoft listens to your movements, and 'resumegate' fires up:

Yahoo's "resumegate" has claimed it's first victim -- but it's not the CEO. Yahoo board member Patti Hart said she plans to not seek re-election to Yahoo's board. She's tied up in the drama because she was in charge of the search to hire the chief executive and vet his resume. The scandal, which has been developing for nearly a week now, surrounds Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson and his bios that claimed he had a computer … Read more

Microsoft snags Yahoo scientists for new research lab

Microsoft has launched a new research lab staffed largely with scientists hired away from Yahoo.

To staff the new research facility in New York, the software giant snatched 14 scientists from the foundering Internet pioneer, which last month laid off about 2,000 employees across the board, including its research staff.

The new lab, which will be tasked with studying how people interact and share information online, will include Duncan Watts, David Pennock, and John Langford -- all former Yahoo scientists, according to a blog post by Jennifer Chayes, the managing director of Microsoft Research New England and the new … Read more

Facebook's patent spree: There's more where that came from

When a company with nearly limitless resources shows itself ready to spend whatever is necessary to beef up its intellectual property portfolio, patent challengers have added incentive to seek out easier fights elsewhere.

So it is that Facebook is again putting its very deep pockets to work, adding a new clutch of patents from Microsoft to an earlier trove it acquired from IBM. The message to Yahoo and beyond is clear: Do you want to get into a spending war with a company whose deep pockets are about to get a lot deeper? In other words, there's a lot … Read more

White House pressures AOL, Google over pirate sites

Yahoo, Google, AOL, and Microsoft try not to let copyright-infringing Web sites sign up. Their advertising network contracts currently prohibit it.

But that isn't stopping the White House from pressuring those four companies to do more to satisfy Hollywood and other copyright holders who are peeved about online piracy -- in this case, that presumably means addressing piratical Web sites that cover their bandwidth costs through ad revenue.

A White House report (PDF) released today singles out those four companies by name, arguing that they and others should "act as checkpoints for infringing activity and reduce the distribution … Read more