Is Yuri Gagarin Google Doodle Nod To Space Race Or Possibly Cyberspace Race?

The Google Doodle honoring the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin brings back memories of the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War of the last century, but also could be seen as a mirror to the new Search Race that national search engines from the United States, Russia and China are now competing in.

Russia and China are two of the few countries that do not have Google as their dominant search engine. Now as Baidu - from China - and Yandex - from Russia - move to compete outside their own countries, the Search Race has taken over as an international competition for Cyberspace.

Does Google's battle with China suggest another Cold War set in the online space? When will President Obama be calling for China to "tear down the wall" - in this case the firewall China uses to block the delivery of free accessed information.

Yandex has been increasing its global presence and its reach has been expanding over the past few years. The company is also looking to go public soon through NASDAQ.

Meanwhile Baidu went public in 2005 and its stock price has outperformed Google. Baidu (BIDU) started at $27 compared to Google's (GOOG) $100 and factoring in Baidu's 10-1 split last year when it was valued at over $700 and today is trading at $140. So a share bought at both IPO prices would turn $27 to $1400 for Baidu to Google's $100 to $571.

As this financial and traffic volume competition continues Google must want better access to China and its massive potential users and income source. Google is the number one visited site in the world, Baidu is sixth, while Yandex is 23rd. These companies see cyberspace as their "new frontier" and there is definitely a race going on.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.