Google: No to browser, Yes to more search

Detailed report in today’s Financial Times about Google.

On whether Google is going to launch its own browser:

Speaking at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, [John Doerr, one of Google’s non-executive directors] denied recent speculation that Google was planning to launch its own internet browser, to compete with Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer.

On Google’s plans to launch a number of new features to its search engine:

[Google] has also started testing a service that lets users read book excerpts online, echoing the popular “Search Inside the Book” service created by

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, are at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week trying to win over publishers to the idea. The duo are expected to hold a press conference [today] to showcase their wares.

The book excerpt service, called Google Print, aims to give users links to relevant books among the other search results they receive. Clicking on the link will then lead to the book excerpt, where users can read two pages forward or back from the relevant page and also click on another link to an online store to buy the book.

And this analysis of some developments in the search engine market:

While Google made its name by creating a broad index of the web and devising algorithms that returned more relevant results to search queries, the growing competition in the search engine wars has shifted the focus to a different issue: how to make it easier for users to find the information they want from among the large number of results that is often returned.

The latest new rival, announced this week, uses data about the habits of millions of internet users to try to guide searchers towards the results they will find most useful. Called Snap, it is the product of Idealab, one of the most prominent “internet incubators” from the heady days of the dotcom boom. Earlier ventures created by Bill Gross, Idealab’s founder, include Overture, the search engine advertising business that was bought by Yahoo! last year for $1.6bn.

Snap tries to guide users by showing the most popular sites that other searchers have turned to, derived from the actual clicking experiences supplied by the ISPs.

Other recent initiatives to make internet searching easier include A9, a search engine created by Amazon that also tries to rank search results based on other users’ experience. It also lets users annotate and store websites they have found useful.

Interesting that the FT’s article makes no mention of Microsoft’s plans for this space, including the gathering this week in Redmond of the so-called search engine champs.

Financial Times | Google to introduce new book search (subscription required).