50 Most Memorable Moments in Search for 2008

It was one heck of a year for the search industry. The convergence of outside economic forces, a wild presidential election and the 2008 Beijing Olympics were all signs of an industry becoming more and more mainstream and global. Here’s a look at the completely subjective biggest stories in search from 2008:

  1. Microsoft Makes Unsolicited Offer for Yahoo! – On February 1, one of tech’s biggest companies made a generous offer of $31 a share for the number two search engine. CEO Jerry Yang was defiant in his stance that the company he founded over 10 years ago would remain independent. Yahoo! turned the initial offer down, endured an “ultimatum” from Steve Ballmer, was rumored to have rejected an increased offer of $33 a share, and neglected to negotiate selling off just the search portion of Yahoo!. Yahoo!’s stock price is now hovering in the low double digits, and many analysts think it will be sold in 2009.
  2. Search Advertising Plays Major Role in Elections From the primaries to the general presidential election, it appeared that whoever outspent their competitor headed to the next step. Barack Obama, with his arsenal of cash, went on an online advertising shopping spree and will be inaugurated in a mere 21 days.
  3. Google and Yahoo! Form Search Advertising Partnership, DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Threat Shuts Down Google/Yahoo! Deal – Google made it quite clear they didn’t want to see search engines #2 and 3 integrate. So they offered up a search advertising deal to Yahoo!, who in their desperation to avoid a hostile Microsoft acquisition said yes. After the Microsoft negotiations died, so did the Google deal. It seems the team over in Mountain View wasn’t up for a battle with the Department of Justice and nixed the deal just an hour before the suit was served.
  4. Carl Icahn Threatens Yahoo with Hostile Takeover of Board, Later Agrees to Compromise and Joins Expanded Yahoo! Board Investor Carl Icahn wasn’t happy with Yahoo’s rejection of Microsoft’s generous offer, so he threatened a hostile takeover of his own for the annual shareholders meeting. But just before the meeting occurred, a deal was struck. Yahoo would expand its board, adding Icahn to the table.
  5. Jerry Yang Steps Down as Yahoo! CEO After spending just a little over a year in the CEO seat, Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang announced his resignation. He will remain in the position until a replacement is found and then will remain at the company as Chief Yahoo.
  6. Twitter Becomes Agent of Search Whether you deem it a microblogging tool or a mass chat client, Twitter went mainstream this year and the search industry was smack dab in the mix of things. Many users found Twitter useful for the actual conducting of searches, while others found it useful in networking.
  7. Google Completes DoubleClick Acquisition with EU Approval Even though Google announced the DoubleClick acquisition in 2007 and it was approved by US regulators late last year, the deal wasn’t finalized until EU approval was gained earlier this spring. Once it was, Google began the great integration. Google also sold the search marketing arm, Performics, to Publicis.
  8. Page Load Time Affects Quality Score In its everpresent goal to improve ads, Google AdWords added yet another factor to Quality Score – landing page load time.
  9. Microsoft and Facebook Enter Into Search Partnership. After rumors of a possible acquisition, Microsoft and Facebook simply expanded their existing partnership, which has the software giant invested in a 1.6% stake in the company, to include a Live Search on the social network.
  10. Yahoo Wins Gold in the Search Engine Olympics. Yahoo was the big search winner when it came to Olympics-related web traffic. Microsoft won big, too, with its partnership with NBC, which covered the big event. Meanwhile, Google seemed to sit the event out entirely.
  11. G1, the First Google Android Phone, Released Through T-mobile
  12. A Judge orders Google to hand over user data in a suit brought by Viacom over YouTube. Later, Viacom agrees to let Google scramble user IDs and IP addresses. A Judge threw out a similar case that IO Group brought against YouTube competitor, Veoh.
  13. Hulu, an online video site for copyrighted work by major networks, launches to compete with YouTube.
  14. Google Adds Ads across various sites
  15. Google launches VisualRank, which is PageRank for images
  16. Microsoft acquires semantic search engine Powerset
  17. Yahoo Indexes Microformats, Opens Up Search Technology with SearchMonkey, BOSS, and Fire Eagle.
  18. Microsoft incentivizes Live Search with Cashback and Search Perks
  19. Yahoo changes minimum bid policy on search ads
  20. Yahoo rebrands display advertising platform AMP as APT and launches
  21. Google Launches Search Within Search Results
  22. Yahoo! acquires assets of the Inquisitor 3 Plug-in for Safari, speeds it up, adds languages and then expands the search suggestion plugin to Firefox and Internet Explorer.
  23. Google sites surpass Yahoo sites in traffic for the first time.
  24. Google, Yahoo & MySpace Team Up for OpenSocial, AOL signs on later.
  25. Cuil launches under much fanfare and then much criticism.
  26. Live Search implements instant answers, Wikipedia into search results.
  27. AOL and Yahoo redesign home pages
  28. YouTube rolled out sponsored videos
  29. Google launches Image Search by content type
  30. Yahoo! acquires analytics company, IndexTools.
  31. AOL buys Bebo and SocialThing
  32. Ask.com to acquire Dictionary.com family of reference sites
  33. YouTube launches Insight, limited analytics for users regarding their uploaded videos.
  34. Adobe Provides Flash Technology to Google and Yahoo for Better Indexing, Google Analytics now tracks Flash Content.
  35. Yahoo, Ask, Zillow conduct layoffs
  36. Google offers video Adsense units.
  37. Compete acquired by TNS.
  38. Googlers Head to Facebook, Friendster, Twitter, and Zillow.
  39. Cable firms collaborate to compete with Google
  40. Visual search engines Searchme, Viewzi launch
  41. Answers sites see increased traffic; Hearst acquires Answerology, Answers.com integrates with Wikianswers.com.
  42. Google AdWords offers TV Ads for everyone.
  43. AOL’s display advertising platform, Platform-A, expands to Europe.
  44. Google Trends goes from hourly to daily, launches Trends for Websites.
  45. Google launches Ad Planner, a media planning and buying aid for media buyers.
  46. Time Warner announces AOL split
  47. Yahoo! Buzz opens to all publishers
  48. IAC, parent company of Ask.com, splits into five companies.
  49. Google enables cross-language search for News and Enterprise Search Appliance.
  50. LinkedIn launches new search platform

Honorable Mentions

What are your most memorable moments in search for 2008? Leave a comment and let us know!

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