|INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY|
Buzzmakers Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO) did just that, as top executives of each company gave separate keynote addresses at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday that pitched more services to users.
Google aims to make the Web more versatile for consumers — and make a buck in the process.
Larry Page, co-founder of the Web's No. 1 search service, was slated Friday to reveal a new one-stop service that will give consumers access to many features in one software download called Google Pack.
Page also was expected to reveal a first-of-its-kind agreement with CBS and the National Basketball Association to provide, for a fee, video downloads of TV shows and games via Google's Web site.
While Page's speech was to start after press time, Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, briefed IBD earlier Friday.
With Google Pack, consumers no longer have to surf the Web to find varying lines of software to enhance their Web experience, says Mayer.
"We want to make computers simpler and easier for consumers to use," she said. "If they are, people will use them more and, ultimately, that will help our core business."
Google is teaming with six companies to offer Google Pack, seen as a jab at rival Microsoft. (MSFT) Partners include RealNetworks, (RNWK) Symantec (SYMC) and Adobe Systems. (ADBE)
Google makes nearly all of its money from ads. It has stepped up efforts to find new ways to drive more consumers to its site and away from rivals Microsoft and Yahoo.
Mayer says Google Pack is a free one-stop solution, but should bring more users to Google's sites.
"We approached third parties, to get everyone consolidated in one user licensing agreement," she said. So, Google Pack users only have to click on one licensing agreement page to get the entire service.
Earlier Friday, Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel announced plans to move Yahoo deeper into your living room — and into your purse or pants pocket.
He unveiled Yahoo's Go TV and Go Mobile offerings, designed to take Yahoo beyond the PC. The idea is to make Yahoo easily available on PC-linked TV sets and on Web-connected cell phones. Yahoo Go is a new brand for the No. 1 Web portal, which is accessed far more via computers than via other devices — so far.
Yahoo Go Mobile will be launched with AT&T (T) and Cingular Wireless in the U.S. and with Nokia (NOK) in 10 foreign markets in the coming months. Cingular is owned by BellSouth and AT&T (formerly SBC Communications).
Consumers in the coming weeks will be able to buy Go Mobile preloaded on Nokia's Series 60 smart phones at Cingular Wireless stores in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Los Angeles, and in AT&T sales outlets in the 13 Western states that comprise SBC's local phone region. In those 13 states, a co-branded Go Mobile service will be offered to existing AT&T-Yahoo broadband customers.
Semel demonstrated how it might work. He did a Yahoo search for a pizza place. The phone detected he was in Las Vegas and provided a list of nearby pizza places. As he scrolled down the screen, up came maps of shop locations. The service encompasses search and content, or what Semel called Yahoo's core premise.
Yahoo Go Mobile also will be installed on some Motorola (MOT) phones, though dates weren't announced. Go Mobile will have a user interface designed specifically for a cell phone's small screen.
Presently, Yahoo's Web service is only available on certain cell phones via Web browsers.
Semel also showed how Yahoo will become user friendly on your TV screen. Any PC connected to a TV will be able to use the Go TV features. It's designed so that users can easily bring to their TVs content such as digital photos and movie playtimes at local theaters and other personalized services from across the Web. Yahoo also plans to make its music offerings available through this service.
Semel brought comedian Ellen DeGeneres on stage at the Las Vegas Hilton as a comical prop to set the scene. The TV star said her favorite tech gadget is a button on her microwave that cooks popcorn. No techie, she.
After comforting DeGeneres, Semel noted that new consumer electronics technology "was not a paradigm shift" for today's teens and 20-somethings. Nor for some older folks, of course, though DeGeneres isn't yet 48.