Mozilla ditches Google as default Firefox search engine, negotiates new agreement w/ Yahoo

Virgin-flight-27

Mozilla and Yahoo today announced a joint five-year “strategic” partnership that will see the Firefox browser’s default search engine change to Yahoo. Since 2004, Google has been the default search engine for Firefox, but when the agreement came to an end this year, Mozilla said that it decided to make a change.

Read more

Marissa Mayer planning to push Apple to replace Google with Yahoo! as the default iOS search engine

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer eat pizza with other industry executives

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer (right) eat pizza with other industry executives

Re/code reports that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is planning an attempt at persuading Apple to switch its default iOS search engine from Google to her company’s own offering. According to Re/code’s sources, Mayer has built what she hopes will be a convincing arguement in favor of the change.

Yahoo! current powers the weather and stocks apps and Notification Center widgets found in iOS 7 as well as a few Siri functions, such as sports, but lost out on the chance to power Siri’s web search to Microsoft’s Bing. Both Yahoo! and Bing are included as optional search engines in the Safari browser, but the default selection is Google.

Read more

Yahoo building Google Now/Siri voice-controlled competitor

Update: TechCrunch reports that this video is fake.

Update #2: TechCrunch now reports the video is real and commissioned by Yahoo!, but not a real product yet.

With Yahoo’s acquisition of SkyPhrase, a natural language processing startup this month questions immediately arose as to how Yahoo would incorporate the technology. Now, thanks to a video on Daily Motion discovered by Android Police, we may have our answer as Yahoo prepares a Google Now/Siri voice-controlled personal assistant.

Read more

Report: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer looking to snag Google’s Henrique De Castro

Henrique De Castro

A new report from tech website AllThingsD suggested Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is currently ramping up efforts to poach a key Google advertising executive, Henrique De Castro, for either a COO or lead ad role.

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, who cited “sources close to the situation” and “numerous sources,” noted De Castro’s silence to his staff on the matter is an indication that her reporting is spot-on:

In fact, after reports surfaced several months ago here and elsewhere that Mayer was interested in him, De Castro told his staff at Google that he was not leaving.

That does appear to be the case now, according to numerous sources.

This past week, De Castro canceled a major off-site for his employees and several attendees who know him well said he was not present at the company’s first night of its annual Zeitgeist event for advertising and publishing clients. The suave De Castro is usually a more noticeable fixture at such gatherings.

When reached last night, De Castro said he would be attending Zeitgeist, but declined to comment further.

While Mayer has not been very successful at luring executives from various tech companies, the report further mentioned Yahoo’s current revenue guru and former Googler, Michael Barret, is reportedly not planning to stay with his search company for the long term. De Castro and Barrett also allegedly do not have the best coworker relationship…

Read more

Families of Googlers who pass away receive 5 years of salary spread over 10 years

In a recent interview with Forbes regarding benefits for Google employees, Google Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock explained the company has recently announced death benefits for Googlers.

“This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told me recently in a conversation on the ever-evolving benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.”

According to Bock, spouses of Googlers whom pass away while employed at the company will continue to receive 50 percent of the employee’s annual salary for 10 years following. Children will also receive $1,000 monthly until they reach 19 (or 23 if they are a full-time student):
Read more

Google’s Marissa Mayer named President & CEO of Yahoo

The NYTimes has the story:

  • The appointment of Ms. Mayer, who was employee No. 20 at Google and was one of the few public faces of the company, is considered a surprising coup for Yahoo, which has struggled in recent years to attract top flight talent in its battle with competitors like Google and Facebook.
  • Ms. Mayer, 37, had for years been responsible for the look and feel of Google’s most popular products: the famously unadorned white search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. More recently, Ms. Mayer, an engineer by training whose first job at Google included computer programming, was put in charge of the company’s location and local services, including Google Maps, overseeing more than 1,000 product managers. She also sat on Google’s operating committee, part of a small circle of senior executives who had the ear of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Mayer has been on the outs for some time at Google, and she did not show for Google I/O this year. She moved up the food chain from being Google employee No. 20 and first female engineer. Mayer’s rise took her from engineer to project manager to Director of Consumer Web Services to VP of Search Products and User Experience, and finally to Location in a broad shift. She was also on the very influential “Operating Committee” of high ranking officers.

However, she was not promoted as one of Larry Page’s seven business heads when he re-took over the company last year.

Mayer is on Walmart’s board of directors, and she briefly dated Google CEO Page who said:

“Since arriving at Google just over 13 years ago as employee #20, Marissa has been a tireless champion of our users. She contributed to the development of our Search, Geo, and Local products. We will miss her talents at Google.”

Mayer said,

“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users.  I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

The press release is below. 

Read more

WSJ: Google to launch new service for local businesses as early as July

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is preparing to launch a new ad service and tools aimed at small businesses as soon as July. Noting that the new service was once called “Business Builder” internally, the report claimed it will consist of various products that have been developed by Google and technologies/services acquired through the purchases of over six companies at a cost of roughly half a billion dollars since last year. The source claimed Google is hoping the new service will bring in billions in new revenue each year.

A few of the acquisitions mentioned in the report include in-store loyalty program Punchd and SMS customer interaction serviceTalkBin. The service would also include aspects of AdWords Express, Google Offers, Google Wallet, and several new products.

The report explained the Google+ angle:
Read more

Google’s Marissa Mayer nominated for Walmart’s Board of Directors, says she’s ‘very excited’

Earlier today, Walmart published a press release on its corporate website announcing that Google’s Vice President of Local, Maps and Location services Marissa A. Mayer has been nominated for the company’s Board of Directors. In addition to an announcement claiming she’s “very excited” about the nomination on her Google+ page, Mayer made a full statement in the press release:

“I am very excited to be nominated for the Walmart board… I have long been a customer and admirer of the company. Walmart is an amazing story of entrepreneurship and, as one of the world’s most powerful brands, touches millions of lives every day. I look forward to contributing to Walmart’s continued growth, success, and innovation in the years to come.”

Walmart will vote to elect Mayer at its Annual Shareholders’ meeting June 1. The company’s full press release is below:
Read more

Marissa Mayer and Youtube’s Hunter Walk endorse Ed Lee for Mayor in Viral Youtube campaign

Seen in the viral video above endorsing Ed Lee for mayor of San Francisco is Google’s vice president of Local, Maps & Location Services Marissa Mayer, and, director of Product Management focused on YouTube, Hunter Walk. You might also notice a couple of other notable appearances including Twitter’s Biz Stone, and will.i.am of  The Black Eye Peas.
Read more

Marissa Mayer talks Apple, location, and learning

On the possibility of Apple dropping Google Maps (we’ve heard they aren’t): Mayer says there are 200 million active users of Maps and in June more people will use them on mobile than the desktop. (Although at 100 million iPhones out there, an Apple exodus would put a monster dent in those numbers. Also, new Google Mobile Maps (not iOS) use vector tiles which can be up to 100 times smaller files than the traditional bitmap tiles.

Also, location is getting better as more data is input (learning), especially in big cities like New York with check-ins helping out.

Finally, she expects phones to know what you want before you ask, called ‘serendipity’ or ‘zero-click’.

Full transcript available here.