Today, we introduce a new weekly feature, The Inside Word, that looks at unusual industry debates and discussions unfolding on the blogs of employees at digital-media companies.
Poster: Mike Markson (pictured, right)
Blog name: Marskonland
Backstory: Blekko is a search-engine startup expected to go live this summer. The company, whose investors include Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, argues that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) was built to index a version of the web that no longer exists — “a web where people still engaged in social linking behavior, for one thing.” Last week, another stealth search engine, Wolfram Alpha, made its public debut.
Blog Entry: Markson says that on the same day that Wolfram Alpha launched its search engine, which can (among other things) find and compare online data, Google introduced a similar feature. He cites other examples where, he says, Google has quickly copied would-be rivals. Two weeks after Wikia Search went public, for instance, Google started testing a similar feature, Markson writes. And a month after yet another search startup, Cuil, started putting longer snippets in its results, Google did the same, Markson says.
The point: “Can you imagine Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) making wholesale changes to its stores because (a) mom and pop store on the corner implemented some neat features for its customers?” Markson says in his blog post.
Counter-point: Google’s Matt Cutts responds to each of Markson’s examples on his own blog, saying essentially that the overlaps were coincidental and that Google had these products in the works well before the other companies introduced them. “Don