A question was posed by Sam Diaz on Between The Lines -- "Can Yahoo steal the search throne from Google with Search Pad?". As you may have guessed, my answer to his question is "no".
You are probably thinking that I'm simply a cheerleader for Google -- but I really don't think anyone could honestly say that a feature like "Search Pad" can dethrone Google.
Search Pad is a new feature that is soon to be released by Yahoo. It's claim to fame is that it can recognize when a user is doing "research" and ask them if they want Yahoo to take notes. The argument that Yahoo is succeeding at understanding why people use search engines is flawed.
Yahoo, in trying to understand real-world uses for search, recognized that, when people do research for a particular topic, they usually start with a search query. And almost always, they find themselves needing something - whether a Word doc on the screen or a notebook sitting next to the keyboard - to jot down some notes.
My question is: What is wrong with a notebook beside your computer? It's far easier to use for the people Yahoo is trying to target with this feature -- older folks (who for some reason still use Yahoo) who can't remember what information they've learned in the past few searches.
Google had a similar product called Google Notebook in the past. They have since canned that project -- likely because only a tiny percentage of their users actually used it. So if Yahoo Search Pad has similar success, a tiny percentage of their tiny percentage of overall search share doesn't amount to much -- and certainly doesn't dethrone Google.
What do you think?