The Wall Street Journal
Rising Clout of Google Prompts Rush by Internet Rivals to Adapt
Google, a clever online search service with a silly name, has already transformed the way people use the Internet. Now it's shaking up the strategies of companies all over the Web business, from Microsoft Corp. to Yahoo Inc. To its rivals, Google is gaining a strategic position that could give it too much influence over Internet commerce. Its dominance of online searches means it can reach Web users from the moment they start browsing, and steer them to anyone with a product to sell or advertise. Of roughly four billion Internet searches conducted in May, 32% were conducted directly through Google, compared with 25% for Yahoo and 19% from AOL Time Warner Inc., according to comScore Networks, an Internet market-research firm. Google long ago realized something that is only dawning on many other companies: Searching isn't a Web sideline -- it's the Web's strategic heart. While Amazon and other sites try to position themselves as the central place for online shopping, thousands of shoppers are simply Googling for sandals or curtains and whatever else they want.