Please don't use the word 'search' around Microsoft and Yahoo!

Posted on Mon Jun 1 2009

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Every so often, marketing flushes out an apt, descriptive word for corporate blather. Before there were one-time-use cameras, for instance, we called them disposables. Used cars gave way to pre-owned, and so forth. The latest word that seems to be marked for extinction is "search," which is being targeted by companies that make what used to be called search engines. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft seemed to have decided last week that they no longer like the term. First, Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz told CNBC's Jim Goldman that Yahoo! is a lot of things, but "just because we're on the Internet does not mean we're a search company. We are much broader than a search company." Not to be outdone, Microsoft unveiled its latest product, Bing, which it dubbed a "decision engine" that's "the first step in moving beyond search to help make faster, more informed decisions," according to a press release. For its part, Google doesn't stray from the s-word in its company overview. ("Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search ...") But then again, who uses the term "search engine" anyway? Most people just say Google.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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