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Essentially what they say is that Lycos Japan and Infoseek Japan will combine their portals into one portal by September 1, 2003. They say that the power of the combined sites will be able to offer more and better services...blah, blah, blah Industry hacks are saying that this is an effort to challenge Yahoo Japan who now has an impressive lead in the market.
I had wondered what was up when Lycos dropped WiseNut results and picked up Infoseek instead earlier this year...now I know.
And a one-month old article about a plan for this integration: Infoseek, Lycos may integrate [japantoday.com]
It is a shame that Wisenut lost their only foothold in the Japanese market. I really liked their SERPs in Lycos Japan and used them regularly as my #2 SE after Google. That killed off yet another Japanese spidering engine...and then there were 3 (Google, Inktomi, & Infoseek)
Although we won't know the effect on the market until after the merger, I don't see this as a real threat to Yahoo/Google. It probably does more to strengthen the Google juggernaut by shrinking the playing field.
Just looking at the results though, for terms like Cairns in Japanese, they seem fairly strange results. Australian Tourism Commission and other sites that are normally in the top 20 in Google or other engines are way down in the results.
What is Infoseek's main (English) web site address?
Type in www.infoseek.com and you go to www.infoseek.go.com that is powered by Google!
So the question is, can this be good for the Japanese market. We seem to be seeing a swathe of SE dieback and merging across the board and now it appears in Japan as well. The challenge is there are generally fewer resources for the public to use to find stuff. As you say Bill, it moves Google up the playing field yet again, but no matter how good Google may be, depending on a limited number of resources is not a good thing.
Do you see this merger as producing a better results for users, or does one plus one only equal one and a bit? And what other contenders are there out there?
I'm not sure of when the split occurred, but obviously the localization of Infoseek's search technology allowed Infoseek Japan to pursue a different path than the parent company. The local company must have bought their freedom at some point.
Today's Infoseek Japan is a true local engine. I doubt much of the original technology still remains. They have recreated the service and built on so many improvements that it is considered by many Japanese to be a local product. Out of the remaining spidering SEs Infoseek is undoubtedly the most local with Inktomi coming in second. Google is the barbarian invader ;)