It's pretty obvious that this is all about the ad dollars. But they only get those dollars because we all go online to find news and information.
Eyetrack studies have shown us that many more people look at and click on organic search results than ads or sponsored links. So what would this merger mean in term of a search experience, organic results and news content?
comScore Media Metrix latest figures show Google now controls nearly 60% of the U.S. search market, and has been widening its lead, despite concerted efforts by both second-place Yahoo and third-place Microsoft. By combining, Microsoft and Yahoo would have close to 30% of the U.S. search market.
Speaking at the announcement early this morning Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect at MS, said "Social platform will become a new entry point," and called Yahoo pioneers in this field. "We can further accelerate the transformation to a more social web."
Sounds promising. Perhaps Yahoo's innovative thinking and social media smarts combined with Microsoft's deep pockets might give us a better search experience in the long run.
In terms of news search Yahoo is top of the list with over 30 million readers and Google is only at at #7 with just under 10 million. (Could this have been one factor in Google's decision to feature news on their web SERP's?)
How this merger will affect our organic search experience and the online news audience remains to be seen. Since they want the ad dollars they will have to draw the users and to do that they need to up their game and improve the organic search function.