Pilgrim’s Picks for March 5

There’s a big announcement coming later today, so I have to work on writing it up. In the meantime, enjoy these Picks (and get back here for around noon ET).

If Yahoo & AOL Merge, Will They Turn to Google for Search?

There’s lots of speculation and rumor today that Yahoo and AOL are in desperate merger talks (again). Yahoo is hoping to find some alternative suitor to the aggressive Microsoft, and AOL could certainly use the efficiencies that would come from a merger.

To give the talks enough time, Yahoo has delayed a pending board nomination deadline.

Yahoo said the deadline for nominations would be 10 days after it announces the date of its annual shareholder meeting. The previous deadline was March 14.

In a statement, Yahoo said the extension would allow its board "to continue to explore all of its strategic alternatives for maximizing value for stockholders without the distraction of a proxy contest."

Microsoft Research Shows Glimpse of New Search Products

What’s this? Microsoft might actually be working on something innovative in search? No way!

Yes, way!

According to SeattlePI, Microsoft showed a pair of new search related products at its recent TechFest event.

One, SearchTogether, is an Internet Explorer plugin that puts a sidebar into the browser. It’s meant for collaborating on multiple computers, possibly in different locations. In the sidebar, each person can see and follow the Web searches that a friend or co-worker has conducted related to their project or common interest. It uses a Windows Live ID login.

The other, CoSearch, is designed for collaborative searching on a single computer. For example, a person using a mobile phone in the room can control a cursor on the computer screen to click on a link and transfer the result to the phone, even as the people using the PC follow a different link.

Google Maps Crashes Australian Passenger Ferry?

It appears Google Maps has ripped a whole in the space time continuum and has caused two passenger ferries to crash at Sydney’s Circular Quay.

Well, not exactly. While the image below may look two ferries crashed–and a third sunk–it turns out that it’s no more than an "image stitching error."

Now, here’s a question for you. What if Google Maps does it again, but this time stitches an image of you and a topless bar? Could you sue them for defamation of character?

(News and image credit)

Linky Goodness, March 4

Jordan often does a great job covering for me, when I’m unable to post a Pilgrim’s Picks. Today, I noticed no Linky Goodness and started to shake!

So, I’m getting to post my first–and probably last, when Jordan sees this–Linky Goodness. w00t!

There, that’s better! I feel all Linky now. ;-)

Ask Laying off Workers, Search?

As we mentioned yesterday, Ask.com has announced layoffs. Today they’ve said they’ll be “downsizing” 40 people, or 8% of their workforce. Meanwhile, despite yesterday’s reports that they’ll keep their search engine and Teoma, today that looks to be in doubt.

New CEO Jim Safka announced today that the solid fourth-place search engine will be changing its focus to concentrate on its core user. And no, that’s not you, it’s not me, and it’s not The Lisa, no matter how much we want it to be. Safka says that Ask.com’s demographics skew heavily toward southern and mid-western women over 30. On that note, they will not be catering to the “digerati” anymore (and I think that’s where you and I fall).

Should Search Engines Do More about Malware?

Last month, Google released a report stating that 1.3% of search queries returned “malicious” results, which included malware. Many people took this as reason to panic and immediately asked “Why aren’t they doing something about this?” (I would interject here that if 98.7% of search queries return only safe results, it would seem that they have done something about this.)

However, 85% of those asked by Virus Bulletin in a recent survey said that search engines should be doing more about malware. Meanwhile, I’m guessing 99.9% of them couldn’t tell you what search engines have already done about malware from pages listed SERPs.

But of course, that kind of policing could bring about all kinds of Google bowling possibilities: