I've been watching intently as the 'big boys' have been playing a classic game of 'one-upmanship' and had their PR machines in overdrive.
But what do all these announcements actual mean for brands, agencies and businesses in Australia and will it actually change they we develop strategy and reach customers?
Below are just 6 Internet Marketing annoucements - some are a few months old some a couple of weeks - what they all have in common is they have the potential to be game changers.
1. Microsoft launches Bing - May 28th 2009
What Microsoft says is a 'decision engine' and not a search engine, Bings promise is to help searchers find what they are looking for faster.
Bing was launched with a massive $100 million advertising budget in May with the objective of gaining market share from Google, which it has been doing, ever so slowly, with growth from 8% to 8.9% market share in the first 2 months of launch.
The Bing marketing campaign in Australia was offically launched on August 17th 2009 and according to ninemsn's blog: "The cross-platform campaign utilises the strength of PBL Media starting with television commercials on Channel Nine and Go!, followed by advertisements online across the ninemsn network and in print within ACP magazines in the coming months"
2. Google announces Google Wave - May 28th 2009
To a much larger audience of 4,000 tech elite, Google announced the launch of Wave at the same time Microsoft announced the launch of Bing. No coincidence.
Google Wave is new communication and collaboration tool for the Interent - think email on steriods.
But Wave is much bigger than being just a new appliaction, it is also a new communication protocol for the web and if adopted mainstream certainly has the ability to change the game.
3. Microsoft does search deal with Yahoo! worth $9 billion - 29th July 2009
In a 10 year $9 billion deal, Microsoft and Yahoo! announce a key partnership that will see the new Bing search engine power Yahoo! search results and Microsoft pay Yahoo! 88% of sales of search ads on Yahoo’s own sites.
Premium search advertising will still be managed by Yahoo! and self-serve advertising will be run through Microsoft's AdCenter. Full terms of the deal can be found at Mashable.
4. Facebook buys Friendfeed - August 10th 2009
August 10 2009 was a crazy day with 3 big announcements around social media and its collision course with search.
First off was the announcement that Facebook was acquiring Friendfeed in a deal worth $50 million.
Friendfeed is social media aggreagation service that allows you to combine all your social media profiles into a single 'life stream'.
While not huge in Australia (yet), Friendfeed is gaining huge popularity in the US and right after the Facebook announcement I saw a surge in subscribers to my friendfeed.
5. Facebook launches Real Time Search - August 10th 2009
One of the most powerful features of Twitter is its real time search - the ability to search conversations and news in real time.
With millions of conversations and hundres-of-millions of tweets what better place to turn to for answers, rather than waiting weeks or even months for Google to index webpages?
Real time search is compressing time and the competition for market share of real time search quiries is heating up.
With a much larger user base of 250 million members, Facebook announced their version of real time search, which allows the vast number of status updates and Facebook conversations to be indexed and searched as they are happening.
Sponsored search ads are powered by Bing on Facebook's search results page.
6. Google annouces 'Cafine', their new search engine - August 10th 2009
In the real time search battle Google also has been toiling away on their new search product code named 'Cafine'.
Google claim that Cafine will improve the speed, accuracy, size, and comprehensiveness of Google search. Translated this means real time search.
I have given it a test at the public test site and it certainly is fast and does return more recent results, which in my tests where more relevant.
So do all of these deals have any relevance in Australia?
You bet. While there is high fragmentation of audience it is very interesting to see look at the most popular sites in Australia. Below is a chart of the top 10 websites by share of visits. 2 things really stand out for me:
A. The top 10 sites have almost 28% of website visits. While this doesn't paint an accurate picture around engagement and time on this sites it does show concentration around a small number of web properties.
B. While they all have seperate ad sales teams and product offerings it really is 2 horse race between Google and Microsoft. Let me explain.
Through Google Australia, Google and Youtube, Google has 3 of the top 10 sites. Google also provide search ads for eBay and mysapce.
Microsoft also has 3 of the top 10 sites with Windows Live Mail, ninemsn and Microsoft, but they also own a share of Facebook and the new Yahoo search deal will see their search distribution grow to include 5 of the top 10 sites.
It's a very exciting time to be working in the Internet industry with change the only certainity.
This article was posted by Matt Forman. Matt is a Google Qualified AdWords Professional and Managing Director at Traffika. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattforman.