Despite their best efforts, Google's search engine rivals still aren't making much of a dent in the company's commanding lead in the space. Apparently, their latest strategy is to convince users that Google's position allows it to wield a frightening amount of control over the world's information. Of course, they don't just come out and say this; rather, a marketing firm hired by Yahoo and Ask has started promoting a site that cryptically warns users to "Stop The Online Information Monopoly". It warns that it's only a matter of time before Google has the power of mind control, and that the way to stop this is to try a rival search engine. The problem is that Google really doesn't exhibit the ominous behavior that this marketing campaign claims it does. Consumers do have choice when it comes to search engines, and for the most part, they're choosing Google. If they wanted to use Ask or Yahoo, there'd be nothing stopping them, since the barriers to switching aren't very high in this space. Instead of scaring people into switching, how about coming up with something better and giving people an actual reason to try something new? Meanwhile, John Battelle has an interesting suggestion for Yahoo and Microsoft, which is that they need to pool their search resources and take on Google together. We've discussed the reasons why a pure merger of the two companies doesn't make much sense, in spite of many analysts' insistence that Microsoft should buy Yahoo out. But if the two companies found a way to meaningfully combine their strengths, then a partnership might prove more effective than what either company is doing on their own.
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