Google - the aggresive gazelle.. lots of ambition.. lots of balls and with a superior product. What I really like is the fact, that they have the guts to aim directly at Microsoft with their guns. Its courages - and personally I believe they can and will win the battle. Their great advantages today are:
- The best and most popular product in the most profitable area on the web by far - search
- A superior, more clean and extremely strong brand
- More search revenue hence more money for research and product improvement than any of the others (but can't Microsoft just take lots of their millions and outspend Google? No - its not just a money game - top engineers don't come easy and recent events clearly show, that talent would rather Google than MSN (more on why later). Also a lot these top search engineers are working at Yahoo! But hey - if you (Google) have the best product, and more product specific revenue to improve it than your competitors - you are pretty well of - and that is excactly what Google is today!
- An organizational mindset saying search first - all other products are build around this - to place the most profitable ads of them all - sponsored links. Having this in the managements attitude in everything they do just make them that more clean cut and focused on the task. A task which is necessary to create the greatest revenue stream of them all - sponsored links next to the most widely used products in the world. These products right now webbased but certainly moving into software, and thereby becomming an even greater threat to Microsoft
- Arrogance - Both buyers of Google's product Adwords, media using Adsense and other interest groups have experienced Google's arrogance. It probably comes with the territory of being the worlds most valuable media company and only 7 years old. Plus probably being the company with the biggest chance of outgunning Mighty Microsoft. Also they have never experienced crisis and hard times - it is probably hard not to be arrogant at Google. However, arrogance has crumbled many.. I believe The Roman Empire was one.. just a small example ;)
- Yahoo! has made many advances in search and are not that far behind Google in many areas and in front in some - if only the public knew ;)
- Microsoft certainly have a lot of products to integrate MSN search into
Personally I see Google as the leader and most likely "winner" of the Search Engine Wars. Winner defined as the future market leader. There will always be several important players in the search engine industry. The money is too great not to have several contenders and human nature and different tastes will help several engines to have enough market share to be profitable. Google is where I recomend people to invest their money today, and it is where I personally is most aggresive.