Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) has confirmed that it is once again testing Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) search as a basis to power its web crawler. The use of Google, which is allowed under the terms of a new deal between the firm and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), could have a big impact on the quickly-changing face of the search industry. The move means that Yahoo could drop Microsoft for much of its search results.
Yahoo said in a statement issued on Wednesday July 1 that it was testing the use Google’s search engine for some of its results. Under the terms of a deal the firm signed with Microsoft on April 16, 51 percent of Yahoo results must carry Bing ads. The rest of the searches can use what ever ads the firm likes.
Yahoo branches out
Earlier this week Aaron Wall of SEO Book noticed that some of the search results he was getting through Yahoo! were coming from Google. Mr. Wall said that he was “uncertain to what degree they are testing search results from Google” but it was clear that some of the searches on Yahoo were bringing up ads from the firm.
With Marissa Mayer, a former Google exec, now at the helm of Yahoo, a closer relationship between the firms has long been an option. The search market is quickly becoming a duopoly, with Google and Microsoft the only firms with an engine that is able to compete.
Bing, which has been gaining ground on Google in recent years, has gained by picking up partners in places Google did not, or could not, compete. The engine is licensed by Apple to power part of its Siri service, and it used to be the big power behind Yahoo, until the April deal scrapped its exclusive hold on the firm.
Yahoo is now playing both sides of that fight, but it will have to stick with Redmond for at least 51% of its ad base. In the meantime, the search market is starting to change. Web indices may be losing the power they have had over users for the last two decades.
Changing the face of the search market
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) are both deeply invested in mobile, and the firms have a combined interest in keeping users off of the web and away from the search engine. For Facebook keeping users off of the web is a way to give ads on its platform more views, for Apple it’s all about the user experience, and hurting Google.
Google created Android in order to keep a hold on search, but users may begin to rely on it less and less as Facebook gives them an option to avoid searching for work through the web, and Apple lets users search through apps and online without ever going near Google.
Yahoo!, meanwhile, is left without much of a say in the mobile race. The firm has made a lot of promises about its future on the mobile device, but so far very few of those are coming true.