Search Engine Land got an email this morning from Another Blogger alerting us to the apparent fact that Google had removed links to Yahoo and MapQuest maps.
Previously, a search for “541 Lexington Avenue New York” (W Hotel), for example, would have yielded a choice among Google Maps, Yahoo and MapQuest. Here’s the same search result today.
A variety of searches I performed, that should have provided the Yahoo and MapQuest links, were similar in offering only Google Maps.
Searching directly for Yahoo Maps or MapQuest of course provides links to those sites. But the removal of those links from “generic” searches could impact their traffic in a meaningful way. MapQuest, which is the category leader, has plenty of direct traffic but Yahoo and Google Maps are running neck and neck. And so Yahoo may be the site that suffers most from this move.
I’m speculating when I say that other than for self-evident competitive reasons it’s not clear why this was done. I can’t imagine that Yahoo or AOL would have made a request to remove these links. I would be interested to hear what Google has to say if the company will comment.
Postscript From Danny: Google Removes Links to Competing Map Systems from Google Blogoscoped has an excellent before and after screen shot illustrating the change.
See also New Google Checkout Promo; New Google Trust Worries posted after this, for a related issue on whether Google may be acting too much in its self-interest.
Postscript From Greg: Here’s Google’s official statement on the change:
“Google is always working to improve search. The redesign of maps onebox better simplifies the Google user experience when looking for business and address information. Users will now be able to obtain directions and store their default location.”
In a related use case, Google is still linking to multiple finance content sites. (See, e.g., “Goog“)