A glimpse of the web’s future? Riffs on August web news

There’s a few interesting stories developing out there giving us hints of what the web may bring, but most of this news is in early phases of announcements and speculation.  So, while there’s not really enough to devote a whole article to each topic, there are some interesting mergers, acquisitions, and updates going on.

Bing

Ok, so Bing is live already – but its still probably too early to know exactly how this alliance between Microsoft and Yahoo is really going to play out over the long term.  Microsoft isn’t going anywhere, and they’ll probably be able to invest a lot of money into the Bing search service now that its received a fairly favorable reception.

Yahoo is still using their old search, but it seems that pretty soon they’ll be merging everything into Bing.  What will happen to Yahoo’s site explorer and other content?  Does this give Yahoo a solid solution for staying in business?  It seems like the company hit it big with their original directory, and they’ve kind of rode the momentum toward enough luck to keep making money.  This could just be the next lucky break they’ve needed, or it could be that they’re losing control over one of their brand’s remaining strengths.  Earnings and outlook statements from Yahoo should promise to be interesting for the next year or so – and by about that time we’ll probably have a better picture of how Bing reshapes the search landscape.

FriendFeed friends Facebook

Without giving away too many details, it seems that FriendFeed and Facebook will soon be working together.  How will the software capabilities be integrated?  We don’t know – and they probably don’t yet either.  While the announcement is exciting, we’re left with little to do but speculate.

Both brands brought the web unique  platforms for communications, so at the very least, we should expect some new innovations that don’t necessarily resemble either earlier product.  It may start off with extra integration between the two services, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the final version is as revolutionary as the originals were.  Now, that doesn’t mean they’ll figure out all the financial issues involved, but I’m expecting a great product.

Google Caffeine

Of course, Google can let all these headlines go without making a few of their own.  While the Caffeine search update is probably only going to interest SEOs and “power searchers” (is that Matt Cutt’s euphemism for SEOs?), its going to dominate the webmaster forums for the next few months as everyone tries to pick it apart and understand what Google is thinking.

So what does that all give us?  Well, something to look forward to I guess.  The trend toward merging is strong right now.  Companies with access to cash are able to work out deals that might have been unthinkable a year ago, and lots of sites are just going down for good.  So while the big players are getting bigger, a lack of smaller competitors may actually open up the niche field a bit more.  At first glance, Google’s Caffeine update is treating my affiliate and Adwords sites fairly well, so optimization and 3rd party product marketing are far from dead.

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