Who Will Win The War For Dominance?

While Google may have the wraps on general search and YouTube, the second most popular search engine overall, is the clear leader in video search, there has not yet emerged a clear victor in image search. But the race is on.
Last month, MSN announced some upgrades to its image search vertical. But Google was really the first search engine to roll out anything meaningful with its Image Search vertical even though it has never really caught on. But Yahoo! just recently announced its own added image search features.
While many of the new features each of the search engines are adding to their image search verticals aren’t new or lead stretching in any real sense, Yahoo! has come out with a little bit of an edge over MSN and Google with its most recent development. You can now search through Flickr photos exclusively through Yahoo!
OK. So what? Big deal!
Well, it is a big deal actually. Since Yahoo! owns Flickr there is a real incentive to keep its traffic on its own properties. This could mean that Yahoo! will soon start monetizing Flickr in a big way. But if you look at who competes with Flickr, Google’s Picasa comes nowhere close and the only real competitor in the photo sharing space is Photobucket, which is not owned by any of the search engines, though the search feature at Photobucket is powered by Ask.

Flickr and Photobucket have been competing for dominance in the photo sharing arena. Until now it’s been Photobucket, but Flickr is mighty close and taking over. If Yahoo! does a good enough job of promoting its brand then Flickr could very well pull into a big lead. There is a sort of symbiosis there between these two properties that could give Yahoo! a big edge over Google in the long run, since Google has yet to leverage Picasa into anything meaningful. The next logical step for Yahoo! and Flickr is for Flickr to start using Yahoo! search exclusively, allowing Flickr users to access the wider web. If that happens, Flickr could itself become a big enough search engine in its own right to dominate the space of image search. The question is, does Yahoo! have the mojo to pull it off?


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