3) Are there privacy concerns I should be worried about from this deal? That depends on the fine print, and that we'll have to have to check carefully to be sure what Microsoft and Yahoo want to do with all the consumer data they'll be able to collect from our searches. This is already an issue with Google and other search engines as we continue to make our way through this still relatively new global Internet adventure. When we use "free" services like search on the Internet, whether through Google or Yahoo or Bing or whatever, there really is no "free." Someone somewhere is using the spoils of the search -- our preferences about what we are looking for -- for marketing, for potential revenue enhancement, and to help them in their businesses. It's an acceptable risk to us as consumers only when we know what the rules are. Somehow, though, we usually don't ask what those rules are ahead of time. Maybe we should get that information up front this time.
4) Will this Microsoft-Yahoo partnership be enough to knock Google from its perch as the king of search for savvy consumers? I doubt it, and here's why: I just don't see Microsoft and Yahoo, even with the new Bing search engine as its mascot, coming anywhere near Google with the kinds of innovations that make us all excited and Googly. There's Google Earth. Could Microsoft or Yahoo have thought of that? And there's Google Voice. OK, it's still a fledgling effort, but it is interesting and innovative, and users are lining up early to try to get a Google invite to test it out and take it for a ride. What always amazes me is how the Google tech folks are always introducing fascinating new technologies that they can bring to users in ways that no one has else has yet imagined. OK, they haven't found an answer for world peace or the vaccine for swine flu yet, but you never know. I'm just not sure that Microsoft still has any of that kind of turn-on-a-dime mentality anymore. And that's why this partnership may not help search-loving consumers or Yahoo as much as the new partners believe it will.