Have you ever tried looking for a very popular term on different search engines? You can learn very interesting things. In addition, if you try searching for a popular service which every search engine owner also offers, your results will probably be even more fun. For example … mail . Both Google, Yahoo and Microsoft ( and many others ) offer both the search engine and a free mail account. Let’s see what their search engine answers when you search just mail …
The search engines considered for this game are :
- Google Search
- Windows Live
We’ll skip considerations over the UI of the search engines, since this is not our focus here.
First of all, the three guys have different ideas about the number of documents on the web dealing with mail :
- Google says that there are 4,460,000,000 documents that deal with mail
- Live says that there are 2,160,000,000 documents, just half of the big G.
- Yahoo says a completely different number: 21,000,000,000 . Wow, either they crawl the web a lot more than the other two, or they’re using a bit overstimated statistics.
But let’s check the results. Will the three guys be fair against each other and show the products from their opponent ?
Google appears to be very honest. The very first result is Yahoo Mail! Then you have the obvious mail.com domain and GMail only is at the third place. Apple comes next, with their Leopard OS ( which actually features a Mail client ), then AOL and then Live Mail is only sixth. In addition to that, the link title and the caption are very poor: just a miserable “Sign In” with no additional details … who’s ever going to click that link? It’s sure going to be a dialer or some sort of virus! Definitely, Google likes Yahoo much more than Microsoft.
But Google loves programmers too, so PHP is among the next results with its
mail() function. We also have the Daily Mail, just in case you were looking for some reading: you never know what the user has in his mind when he’s typing away in the search box, and there are some crazy guys that associate mail with newspapers …
Curiously enough, GMail is the first sponsored link … Google is paying itself for some ads? It must be quite an expensive keyword. I wonder if I should complain about my company wasting money!
If you’re so desperate to pay yourself to show a link to your mail service, just show it :-). ( This is obviously non-corporate thinking and blatantly against net neutrality, so I’ll be fired in a couple of minutes ).
Next one, Windows Live Search. Also in this case, Yahoo ranks first. And also third. And also tenth. Then mail.com ranks 2nd, 4th and 7th … hmm, maybe you guys at Microsoft should spend a little bit more time with aggregation functions over your result sets ?
Two results are also from Wikipedia, one of them (very) subtly referring to Apple Mail. Ah! I always knew to Google and Apple have been a lot more friends between each other rather than with Microsoft :-) . Flame flame!
Poor old Gmail only ranks 9th. And Live mail ? It’s missing! Microsoft doesn’t like to show its own products? False modesty?
Last but not least, Yahoo. First result is a sponsored link which points to the classic spam site which contains only other links, for the only purpose of making moneys from ads clicks. Bad start. Then the first result is Yahoo Mail. How selfish. They just don’t like competition. Come on, be nice and swap your first position with GMail or Live and show to the world that you can still be the leader :-) .
Second result is Hotmail … hmm, Microsoft no longer uses that name, maybe the cronjob which fires the crawling in Yahoo is stuck? Fortunately at Microsoft they know how to use HTTP 302 Redirects.
Then mail.com , AOL and … the US Postal Service ! Yeah, Good move! In this completely digital world, it’s about to time to move away from the keyboard and start using the pen again. Want mail? Shutdown your pc and start writing, you lazy guy! Btw, you may want to use our sponsored stamps and please remember to click on them before sending the mail.
Then Lycos, then Yahoo Canada and, at last, GMail. Do they really want me to believe that Lycos is more important than GMail? We’re no longer in the new economy era anymore :-) .
Unfortunately, ads are not that relevant to the context: “Ringtones that praise the Lord” ? I was searching for mail, not for an easy way to gain entrance into Paradise :-) ! Seems like there’s still room for improvement in the field of machine-learning pattern-matching keyword-to-ads systems.
This posting is obviously just a joke, but it’s kind of interesting to how differently the three big search engines consider a common argument such as mail. You may want to try with Apple or other delicate keywords such as Jesus. And if you want to spend a bit of time on it, you’re going to find many little differences on implementation strategies and solutions adopted by the different engines.
Please don’t consider this article as a commercial for any of the three mail services. It’s not its purpose.