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Search News Recap 12.5

In keeping with my post last week about recapping the latest news in search, here’s some search engine stories of interest from around the web. This week, we’ll be talking about the recent releases of the data on the search trends of 2008, Google’s beta release of the social networking tool Friend Connect, and the on and off again drama of the Google / Yahoo search deal that has dominated headlines recently.

Search Trends 2008
It’s the time of year when the search giants like Google, Yahoo! and Ask.com give us some insight into the behavior of searchers. Some trends have remained consistent from 2007, but 2008 saw some interesting new topics rise and fall in the search box, most notably in American politics, natural disasters, the 2008 Olympics, and celebrity gossip. Search Engine Land has summarized the information quite nicely for us, highlighting the most important trends across all the engines that provided info. Here’s an overview:

Google Friend Connect
Last May, Google teased a preview release of a new application called Google Friend Connect. Essentially, this is a free service that allows webmasters to add a site-specific social network to their website. By copying and pasting a few snippets of code, you can implement Friend Connect and add a “dash of social” to your site. Friend Connect is officially now in Beta release, available to webmasters around the world. It will be interesting to see if this kind of application will re-shape the networking aspect of the web, or simply be a novelty add-on to an already saturated social scene. To learn more, visit the Friend Connect website.

Google Abandons Yahoo! Paid Search Deal
Is Google a monopoly? The federal government seems to think so. With the prospect of a long legal battle, damage to its stock price and reputation, Google abruptly pulled out of the proposed Yahoo! paid search deal that was on the table. Apparently, a few hours before the US Department of Justice was to issue a compliant against Google for attempting to initiate a paid search monopoly, Google got wind of the compliant and walked away. Yahoo! has been off and on the block for a few months now, with interest renewed after the departure of Jerry Yang. Microsoft has been circling the waters, but it seems every proposal for the search portal falls apart right before the papers are signed, as evidenced by this most recent breakdown with Google. Read more of the comments from the DOJ on Google’s complaint.

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