Thursday, August 16, 2007

American Customer Satisfaction Index - Google vs Yahoo

There has been so much talks about the results of American Customer Satisfaction Index and how Google slips badly against Yahoo and Ask in search and portal market. I was trying to understand the survey criteria and getting the facts with respect search engine market before adding my 2 cents.

First of all, the survey asked a statistically representative of consumers to rate their experiences with portals and search engines according to a number of criteria, which produces an overall satisfaction score on a 100 point scale. Wait a minute, search and portal. Does any agree with the fact that these are two different technologies and solves different business problems? So the data does not correlate with the search engine market share or portal share market. Why should I and anyone else be interested in ACSI results? Is it because there are major player in the fray for the top spot? Would it have made headlines if Google and Yahoo were not affected by ratings? I am not sure why people are comparing apple with oranges and saying Florida Oranges are juicer than Washington State apples. Wow! that was strange.

Portal and Search are two different technologies. The truth is that Google had already taken giant leap ahead of its competitors in search technology in early 2001 and since then rest of herd is just trying to catch up with it. Portal has never been Google forte, though it had tried various variations with the personalized iGoogle Portal. Yahoo has always been good in portals, in fact it's Yahoo! Finance has been more respected and used financial portal. Recently they have given new look to their Portal and Mail platforms. Yahoo is doing great work in search but I still feel they have lot to do to catch up with Google. Recently they added search suggestion which Google had for a long time. It is a good start by nowhere at the same level of Google suggestions.

I personally use Yahoo for portal, Google for search, and Google & Yahoo for mail. Not because I am Google fan or Yahoo loyalist, but for what they do best. Besides, there is also brand loyalty and inertia to hold back in using new products with the consumers. The reasons why MSN has same points even though there hasn't been any product from Microsoft which has attracted anyone attention in search area.

What is it for Google, Yahoo and consumers after this survey? Google already knows if they need to stay ahead of race, they need to keep inventing and bring new technology innovations. Google is second name of search. People recognize Google with search innovations and have high expectations. Would there be further decline in Google numbers next year and what if? Since I do not rate these number very highly, I do not think Google should care. It kind of echoed in their response to these reports. But number can trigger some fluctuations in the stock prices, but momentarily. But it must have been a champagne day at Yahoo, beating Google after a long time in their own territory. The credit must go to Yahoo, they have been working hard to bridge the gap between their and Google search engines. I wish them good luck, it is competition that will keep Google on it feet, always guessing. Now most important, what is there for me, the consumer? Being a consumer is the easiest thing, need to use the technology and give the ratings. I see them having lot of responsibility in guiding these technologies with their needs and expectations. The consumers are the one who decides who will succeed based on who will fulfill the needs and requirements. I do not think these rating will impact Google and Yahoo's road map for the future, but certainly intrigued the bloggers to write.

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