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Gap Between Google and Competition Widening 188

eldavojohn writes "Business Week has up an article trying to explain why it is getting harder and harder to 'catch' Google in the search engine game. We've heard of many different kinds of search engines and many different companies entering the market but: '... Google keeps gaining share in the face of newly launched capabilities on other engines. In August, Google sites gained 6.8 percentage points of search share from a year earlier, according to researcher comScore Media Metrix. Meantime, Yahoo lost 1 percentage point, Microsoft's sites lost 3.3 percentage points, and lost one-half of a percentage point.' All of this on the heels of recent news that A9 scaled back its features. Is it possible to think of a number better than a one with a hundred zeros behind it?"
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Gap Between Google and Competition Widening

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  • Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

    by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:41AM (#16335583)
    Is it possible to think of a number better than a one with a hundred zeros behind it?
    A google-and-one?

  • Um.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:44AM (#16335611) Journal
    A 1 with 100 zero's behind it is a Googol... As far as I know, a Google is a search engine. [] []
  • Odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pdbaby ( 609052 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:45AM (#16335633)

    It's odd that people should say Google are widening the gap... Google's certainly the best, but lately I've been noticing a lot more search results that lead to pages that don't load, or result in 404s (in fact, a domain I used to run 3 years ago is still in Google's index).

    Is google not removing ages from their index to try and seem impressive, or getting lax with recrawling sites? Or am I the only one noticing this?

    • Re:Odd (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Soul-Burn666 ( 574119 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:53AM (#16335727) Journal
      Noticed that too. Many 404s, outdated pages (which are USUALLY in the cache tho) or pages that have not a single reference to the search terms.
      Another truly annoying set of results are links to other SEARCH sites indexing some pages which may or not have anything to do with the search terms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Awod ( 956596 )
      Google doesn't delete old pages it stores "EVERYTHING" in a google cache that will will not be deleted/available for another 20 years*, every search entered and page viewed websites are updated with new caches every 5 minutes. *Inaccurate number but it shouldn't be too hard to find if you're interested google doesn't hide the stuff..
    • As the "bad" sites (like placeholder domain parked ones full of ads) on the web start figuring out Google's indexing algorithms and build cross-linking networks to imitate popularity, things like this seem to be increasingly more common.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 5KVGhost ( 208137 )
      Yeah, I know what you mean. For example, I often visit Matt Denton's photography site ( His pages used to reside on Apple's free hosting service until he moved everything over to a dedicated domain. That was quite a while ago, six months at least, but Google still returns results on the now-404'd pages in preference to the identical content on his actual, live site. It doesn't seem like that should happen.
    • It's an attempt to embarrass those of us who posted embarrassing content online years ago to be searchable by future employers, girlfriends, etc. I'm quite serious.
  • Ganz Scheiß (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerGeist ( 956018 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:47AM (#16335651)
    This is all very ironic nonsense; Google showed us just how easy it really is to catch up with "the big guy." Back when Yahoo and Altavista were king, Google overthrew those powerhouses like it was Superbowl III. The key was Google knew what people wanted, and gave it to them. Now, certainly, it doesn't seem like Google is going to forget that anytime soon, and no, it's also not likely at this point that a little guy could wipe out Google, but who knows?

    Look at the way great ideas have grown quickly: YouTube, digg, and so on.

    And you can bet that if someone came up with a radically new search algorithm that provided noticeably better search results than Google (which is actually falling a bit behind, which is a dangerous mistake...) you can believe that most people would quickly migrate to their new engine of choice. (Of course, if it had little to no ads, speedy and reliable service, etc...)

    • by iangoldby ( 552781 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:08AM (#16335919) Homepage
      I find that Google is becoming less and less useful.

      The web now has become so large that a simple keyword search just doesn't cut it anymore. Try searching for information about a popular digital camera from someone who isn't trying to sell them. It is next to impossible. (Yes I know about [] - a good try, but not really addressing the fundamental problem.)

      The best way that search could get better in my opinion is to introduce some kind of filtering on the type of organisation that produces the pages you are searching for. Google already does a bit of this with Google Scholar []. But we need something far more general, and more to the point, a facility for excluding results of particular types, e.g. blogs, sites trying to sell something, ...?

      I know that some people will complain that it may be a very subjective judgement whether site X is commercial or not. But search results are never going to be perfect anyway. Let's have the improvements where they are available, and worry about the corner cases later.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ghyd ( 981064 )
        The firefox embedded search engines changed me my googling (tm). The search engines I mainly use are: Amazon, wikipedia, some local computer shop, youtube (if I'm looking for, say, Maria Callas, youtube will have pertinent bits of video to look at), and other music related search engines. In the end, I removed google as my home page as for me it tends to become a secondary search engine [ie I look at it after using a more specialized search engine], even if I still use it a lot [ie in the end still more th
      • by fizbin ( 2046 ) <martin@sn o w p l> on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:36AM (#16337055) Homepage
        For example, if you search google for the name of any common drug (even if you use the generic chemical name instead of the brand name), you'll get options immediately to narrow your results to a bunch of useful subcategories; for example I just did a search and got this before the rest of the results: (I've inserted brackets to show where the links are, or just do the search yourself)
        Refine results for Clonazepam:
        [Drug uses] [Interactions] [For patients] [From medical authorities]
        [Side effects] [Warnings/recalls] [For health professionals]
        Now, if they could extend this kind of categorization to consumer electronic devices, I think that would address your main concern.
      • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @12:04PM (#16337437) Homepage
        'digital camera -sale'; just keep excluding results until you're left with what you want.

        The only way to get accurate, personalized results from a flexible search engine is to learn at least some basic query syntax. I don't want,, to walk me through making common searches, because it's more effective, flexible and easier to just add on a few extra clauses yourself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kthejoker ( 931838 )
          The ideal search engine would be just like Google, but have one more aspect: real-time fuzzy sliding algorithms.

          These sliders could control all kinds of variables: whether you're shopping or not, whether you want local results or not, are you looking for more academic sites or more personal sites, more historical data or more current data, etc. And they need to work seamlessly and on the fly.

          Google used to have something like this in their Labs, but I don't think they do anymore.

          In any case, the grandparent
      • by dodobh ( 65811 )
        Perhaps adding the term "review" to the search would help? I personally like for camera information though.
      • The best way that search could get better in my opinion is to introduce some kind of filtering on the type of organisation that produces the pages you are searching for. Google already does a bit of this with Google Scholar. But we need something far more general, and more to the point, a facility for excluding results of particular types, e.g. blogs, sites trying to sell something, ...?

        Two words: "-buy -blog"

        Modify to suit your every exclusion need. Perhaps Google could just add an option to the prefe
      • Try searching for information about a popular digital camera from someone who isn't trying to sell them. It is next to impossible.

        FUD =off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aof ficial&q=powershot+s3&btnG=Search []

        First link is to dpreview, which is not selling cameras
        (they carry ads to camera stores, but that is not the same)

    • Look at the way great ideas have grown quickly: YouTube, digg, and so on.

      YouTube isn't a great idea. That's like saying that Empornium and Suprnova are/were great ideas. YouTube, just like Empornium and Supernova, is successful because there is a metric fuckton of copyrighted shit on there. No other reason.

      If the site was only starting out and didn't have that stuff no one would have started to use it. Now that they are huge and people know of them because of allowing copyright infrigement, they are goi
    • Google didn't catch up to "the big guy." Google caught up to first-movers in a very young market -- who were not even doing search (Yahoo) or who put search on the back burner (Digital) -- with half a dozen servers.

      Today the big guys have 500,000 servers. Even if you are somehow an order of magnitude more efficient, and another order of magnitude smaller while you're starting out, that's still 5k servers -- $5M at least, plus an ops team to run them.

      Good luck.

      Carnage Blender []: Meet interesting people.
  • Article Summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:49AM (#16335685)
    Expanding Territory - Google is expanding into areas previously dominated by Yahoo!, Microsoft, and eBay.

    New Formulas - hopes their new smarter algorithm will win over searchers.

    Topic Communities - has a new feature that retreives related topics to your query instead of related links.

    Social Search - Yahoo! has been working hard at ... ask a question, get an answer sites.

    An Issue of Trust - and work on a more visual interface compared to googles plain ordinary links returned.

    Google Still Gaining - Google can easily acquire or replicate any new search method that makes signficant headway.
    • has a new feature that retreives related topics to your query instead of related links.

      I just tried the clusty cloud technology. Way cool: []

      You can even have the results generated in the 'Slashdot Green' color.

  • Inertia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fabioaquotte ( 902367 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:51AM (#16335715) Homepage
    Inertia is a powerful thing, people tend to not change services unless the one they are using has serious flaws, or a new one with a "must have" feature shows up.

    Unless someone comes up with a revolutionary feature for search engines, Google won't be losing terrain any time soon.
  • Is it possible to think of a number better than a one with a hundred zeros behind it?
    Yep...... 1

    Although it is the loneliest number..
  • by kisrael ( 134664 )
    Man, A9 must have the most wasted publicity budget. I see them prominently placed on sites like IMDB and Amazon, and assume they're "search this site", but no... it's just generic websearch, sometimes with a little bit of themed advertising content on the side.

    The thing is, I don't go to IMdB and Amazon to do generic websearches, so it's kind of a waste. I have no idea what "value add" they're trying to bring to the table.

    Plus, their name kind of sucks.
    • Plus, their name kind of sucks.

      Actually, the suck-iest (is that a word?) search engine name is Clusty []. Oddly enough, the name of Clusty's parent company, Vivisimo [], is probably also ahead of A9 on the "suck meter".

      The weird thing about it is that I believe Clusty's seach engine is much better than Google. Go ahead and try it, check out how it clusters the results.

  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:57AM (#16335789) Homepage Journal
    ...I have to say this is great news but not wholly unexpected. If you provide a very useful service for free, then you deserve to be at the top of the heap. There's no competing with free unless you're, oh how should we put this... BETTER.
  • As soon as my new search engine, Centillion, opens, Google won't see me for dust.

    Nobody will be able to beat me, nobody!!!!!!

    (Evil laugh)
  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:04AM (#16335881) Homepage

    To me, more and more Google is a tiresome chore -- you have to make stuff work with it, but searches are hugely hampered by blogs, aggregators, search engine traps, link farms and so on to the point where:

    If I want to find out about some general topic, I use wikipedia.
    If I want to find out about a specific thing, I use a site such as riskglossary or MSDN.
    If I want detailed facts, I use a bookshop, still as true today as it was before teh n3t started.
    If I'm looking for a line from a half-remembered song, I use google.

    In other words, google is strong when you want 'something that contains text X' but not strong for 'a page that describes 'X''. And Google's attempts to preserve quality can actually become a nightmare -- that's how Search Engine Optimization got to be a big business.

    I like google and I use google, but to me, the days when it was my one-stop shop for absolutely every visit to the web are long gone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kabdib ( 81955 )
      Wrod. If you know that a particular database has your answer (Wikipedia, MSDN and online manuals) it's crazy to use a general purpose engine.

      I started using MSN Search about ten months ago. For the non-DB-specific searches that I do, I haven't missed Google at all (used it maybe once a month).

      Search engines are a commodity. Anyone who thinks they can keep an empire going on search is dreaming.

    • by Chacham ( 981 )
      If I want to find out about some general topic, I use wikipedia.

      Of course you can't use Google for that. Content on Wikipedia changes often enough that Google couldn't possibly index it! And, you can't change Google search results (easily).

      But searching google gets a plethora of sites, and not just what's currently popular.

      If I want to find out about a specific thing, I use a site such as riskglossary or MSDN.

      I also go to MSDN. But i search it through Google. MS's search is the absolute worst searching i ha
    • Hehe, if I want to find something on wiki, I'll use Google:
      'mazda wiki'
    • Where is this bookshop site you are talking about? Can you provide the URL?
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:06AM (#16335901) Homepage
    Google have won this round of the search engine game. As far as keyword search goes, there is no reason for me to switch. They're free, they're fast, they almost always get the info I'm looking for in the first couple of links. There is simply no incentive to change. Unless google feck up (start to support wars/slavery so it becomes political, add one feature too many, finally stop with the search results and just returns ads)

    However, its not sewn up. What I really want is a search engine that actually understands what I'm asking for. Rather than a library index, what I want is a librarian. The company that get that right will be the overal winners... but thats decades away - and I imagine it will come from left field, just like Google did.
  • by Krotos ( 831263 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:09AM (#16335929)
    and, say,, except that the latter doesn't collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:09AM (#16335931) Journal
    OK let us assume for a second Google is the defacto monopoly in search engine business. MSFT is the defacto monopoly in OS business. Are they same?

    I dont think so. Google operates in a field where the switching cost to the user is zero. If GOOG does not deliver, it is extremely easy for the user to switch to a competing search engine. So I dont feel threatened by GOOG. But MSFT monopoly was created by increasing the switching cost to the user. It realized long before its customers, the key to revenue is lock them in. MSFT effectively confused interoperability with IBM-PC compatibility and later Windows compatibility and got bulk of the users locked in. As long as it prices its products, mainly MS Office a tad less than what it would cost the corporations to switch t a competing product they will keep raking money in. And they use the money to make sure that the playing field does not get leveled ever again.

    So GOOG can keep its only if it constantly innovates and provides a better service than its competitor. As long as there is competitive pressure on a company, I dont begrudge any billions they rake in. But I strongly resent even pennies made by unfair companies that do not have the burden of competition. Cable monopolies, electicity utilities, MSFT, teacher unions, anyone who found a way to dodge the pressure of competition irks me. Because I am under so much pressure to constantly learn and fight off competitors 20 years younger than me who are gunning for my job.

  • all ask or other sites would have to do is implement some minimal set of filters, eg get rid of the link farms and a few other filters, better search features in advanced search (how do you say google sucks big time here) I'm sure /.s could add a few more

    this is just like firefox: ALL you have to do is find the one or two really simple things people actually need and want
    This would have the added benefit of reducing google revenue; the financial markets are fickle sharks, and one quarter unexpected bad new
  • by Rocketship Underpant ( 804162 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:20AM (#16336047)
    Google is, generally, the best search engine for English, and it's normalization is quite good -- i.e. widening the search to include plurals or singulars, recognize words that might need accent marks, and so on.

    But frankly, Google and Pagerank suck when it comes to searching in languages like Japanese. I can search for a Japanese company or item and get two pages of completely irrelevant links first. Not spam links, but junk like blog posts. Normalization sucks; Japanese uses a mixed script (phonetic kana plus Chinese characters), and Google does no conversion or normalization when searching. It would be a cinch for anyone to top Google in the huge Japanese market, and I think they're already getting pummelled by Chinese search engine.
  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:27AM (#16336127)
    It seems that if you cant catch them, you take shots at them to change peoples view, or you try to change the rules to make it harder for them to succeed. We are seeing this with the threat of a non-neutral Internet where most proponents nearly always use Google as the example.

    I think the shots at Google are a little bit of 'tall poppy syndrome' [] kicking in. The only thing keeping Google from being resented is their 'humility' - that they aren't flaunting their position and their committed to 'not be evil' - like not handing the info to the NSA without a warrant like the 'others' did.
  • Firefox (Score:3, Insightful)

    by managementboy ( 223451 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:29AM (#16336155) Homepage
    I bet there is a correlation between the switching rate from IE to Firefox. It having google as prime search engine makes up for a lot of searches.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kamochan ( 883582 )

      Google is the default also in Safari, the Mac OS X default browser. I guess we could generalize that "I bet there is a correlation between the switcing rate from IE to *[xX]" :-)

      • It's the default there too.

        I remember Opera Google version in which as soon as you typed something, it populated the combo box with the results of the search.

        Somehow the feature was removed, a very sad thing.
  • by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:36AM (#16336257)
    In general the main cause is the bigger search engines are still not even trying to copy the big selling points of google.

    Their front pages are still a big abortion of pictures and junk. Google is simple "box + logo".

    Their results are trying to coppy google but the no.1 thing the google results page sells is TRUST. Most people trust google that all adds are going to be labeled clearly and they will not be inserted into the results!

    MSN/Yahoo/etc already missed the boat on this issue. If anyone is going to compete with Google it's going to have to be someone new at this point probably. Unless of course someone thinks up a new must have feature.
    • by Jearil ( 154455 )

      In general the main cause is the bigger search engines are still not even trying to copy the big selling points of google.

      Their front pages are still a big abortion of pictures and junk. Google is simple "box + logo".

      Have you seen the default site [] for IE7 in Vista? I just loaded up Vista RC1 in a dual boot to see what it was like, I noticed the first time I loaded up IE to go download Firefox, that's the site it goes to.

      Who wants to bet that millions of people will start using as their search engi

  • Google for Google, Google that Google. Google. I sure hope someone is at least getting paid well for the dozen daily Google stories.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:37AM (#16336275) Homepage
    I think among the tech crowd, it's a given that companies who cut back on R&D are simply shooting themselves in the foot. Google is all about R&D and trying out new ideas. The amoebic growth and success of everything "Google" should be more than just noticed by various companies... it should be mimicked.

    Instead, we still see a whole lot of "heads in the sand" and people wondering why their previously successful business models are failing. But then again I can see where people are trying to demonstrate that they learned something from the dot-com failures too... but perhaps they didn't learn what they should have since a great deal of the mentality from the dot-com boom is present in Google's "just try it" ideology.
    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      As far as I can tell, Google's innovation is subsidized by revenue made through a fairly old and well-understood business model. Whenever I ask where Google gets their money, I hear about ad revenue through the search engine that everyone uses, and sometimes references to "licensing their technology."

      I guess I can see the relationship between innovation and the business: by making things that people want to use (particularly the search engine) they get eyeballs and then those people click on ads -- and in

  • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:42AM (#16336345)
    Google, unlike other search engines, has figured out how to make money without annoying the users. Other search engines kept adding more and more ads and clutter. Google's clean interface, and relatively accurate searches have prevented me, and other people to switch to another engine. But I wish I knew a another good search engine, when my google seach turns up nothing.
  • by Mark Programmer ( 228585 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:42AM (#16336349) Homepage
    Compare [] to [] Google realized early on that to win in the searching business, all you need to do is search really well. As long as I still have to scroll my browser page to see everything on a search site's front page, that search site is too complicated. Having a simple main page lets users set it to their home page with negligible impact to their browser's startup time; that really matters more than some people think.

    AltaVista got the message, but they're still playing catch-up.
  • Google is about to get taught the same exact lesson that Netscape did. MS will not hesitate
    to use their platform dominance to crush google from the face of the earth. Now of course MS is
    probably going to get sued again for doing so but, so what the gains are much bigger than the penalties. MS is going to just keep them wrapped up in the courts for years until they are nothing more than a smoldering wasteland.

    Google had a chance to avoid the defeat they are about to get dealt, but they are not thinking enoug
  • One-to-the-hundredth power is a "googol."

    "Google" has no particular referent other than Barney Google, possibly the longest-running comic in history, about a "cigar-smoking, sports-loving, poker-playing, girl-chasing ne'er-do-well" and his hapless horse Spark Plug.

    Barney Google was the subject of a hit song of the 1920s:

    Baaaaaaarney Google! With his goog-goog-googley eyes!
    Baaaaaaarney Google! Had a wife three times his size!
    She sued Barney for divorce--
    Now he's living with his horse!
    Barney Google! With his
  • by xPsi ( 851544 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:49AM (#16336445)
    Is it possible to think of a number better than a one with a hundred zeros behind it?

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I think you are thinking of Googol []...

  • by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:06AM (#16336669) Homepage
    That would be the other 100 search engines, then?
  • specific matches?

    Just yeaserday I was looking for Parklane park.

    I got 10 pages hit for Park Lane -note the space.
    Park lane inn
    Park lane apartmaent, etc.

    I don't want something 'close' I want exact. Putting it in quaotes does not help.

    So, what obvious thing did I miss?
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:36AM (#16337059) Homepage Journal

    In the past six months, I've noticed two computer newb friends of mine doing the same exact thing-- When provided a URL for a website, they don't know they can type it into the browser's URL field. Instead, they use their bookmark for google (it's also set as their home page) and then type the URL into the google search field. In most instances, Google returns a link to the URL they have just typed.

    In the most recent instance, it didn't because it was a website I had just created for my friend. He told me on the phone that he couldn't find the website I had sent him the URL for. I knew the domain was propagated in DNS, so this sounded odd to me. Then when I visited him at his house, I saw him typing it into google instead of the browser's URL field and I had to explain that google didn't yet know about the website and that he needed to request it directly.

    The other guy opens his browser, which has google set as his home page, then he types "" into the search field so he can check his email.

    So, yeah, Google has established itself as a fundamental component of the internet for many, many people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you think about your example, it's quite revealing for google's own vulnerability. Take Microsoft as an example. Right now they're still being eyed carefully because of the lingering antitrust issues, but once this passes they can aggressively make inroads by simply offering their own search box prominently enough that users think that's the box they have to type in their urls. Similarly, firefox is giving google an unfair advantage by having the search box prominently available, and even though the sear
  • For me Google always wins because Google just keeps making the searches return not just more information, but information that is more relevant. Combined with Google's advertisements, which have quickly become one of my favorite ways to shop, Google often has the answer to a lot of life's little questions and problems. Contrast that with other search engines: they just try stripping down to a barebones, Google-style layout, and then throw on lame features dreamed up by some team of idiots in marketing. Take
  • If any of you do have plans for besting the 800lb gorilla, the domain is available. Let us know how it goes.

    - p
  • length? (Score:2, Funny)

    by D4rk Fx ( 862399 )
    It's not the length of your search engine that matters. It's how you use it.
  • This whole article reminds me of a piece Wired did on id: l []

    Money quote:

    "I used to think the gap between those already doing this kind of work and those just getting into it would start to narrow," says Abrash. "Instead I think it's widening. People aren't catching up; they're falling further behind. A large knowledge base is required to do anything state-of-the art, and it takes longer and longer to acquire that knowledge."

    It's my impression that other comp

  • An image search where...

    1) You upload an image to the engine.

    2) It searches for exact matches of the image, and shows you the URLs where they're hosted as well as any pages href'ing them, what the image has been renamed to, etc.

    It can do some sort of advanced pattern recognition, allowing it to compare your uploaded query pic against images which look similar to it in the search engine's index. Upload a smiley face, for example, and it'll find you other smiley faces, or perhaps frowny-faces, etc.

    If someo
  • Back when I was in school we didn't have fancy shmancy percentage points, we had mere percents, and boy were we grateful!
  • Privacy concerns. Google is amassing so much information it's not funny. By now it probably knows me better than I know myself. I do not like this at all.
  • by drDugan ( 219551 ) * on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:09PM (#16344803) Homepage
    I went to hear Norvig talk this week at Parc and found his talk interesting, yet uninspiring. Sadly it was marketing.

    Like all large organizations, they have limited ability to focus on niche areas, and some of the really important niche areas they are completely ignoring. It really does always come back to limited resources.

    Why have they been unable to complete with YouTube, and instead they are in talks for buying them for 1.X Billion?

    Why do they have a litany of research projects that have limited to minimal adoption?

    Why are they still focused on the big-numbers word game when it's clear that even with 100 Trillion+ word corpuses, they still only achieve 70-90% accuracy for various language tasks? ...

    The answer to all of these questions is that they have a (massive) core business, and the focus of the company if to maintain and grow that core business. To really address the above issues and several other, critical ones toward their ultimate goal, they need to be "more different" than how normal, big companies operate. They need to separate out the core and build an internal financial ecology to mirror the outside world. They currently have an internal idea and development ecology - but that is not enough to incent the niche development internally.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents