Google No Longer Linking To Yahoo, MapQuest Maps

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.

Picture 92

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“)

Related Topics: AOL: MapQuest | Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Yahoo: Maps & Local

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.seofox.com WilliamC

    I am surprised they did not do it sooner. Can’t really blame them for promoting their own services more.

  • dyerwolf

    I notice on the example query given, local.yahoo.com appears in the 4th position of the results set.

  • WRXGirl

    Seems like a move that Microsoft would do. Google should focus on providing users with the best information, not just their information.

  • http://www.lizasabater.com Liza Sabater

    Wouldn’t this go against a more overarching concept of network neutrality? And, with that in mind, is it legal for them to “fix” or “payola” searches in a manner that will only benefit them and their clients?

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com JoeDuck

    I always have mixed feelings when Google pulls this type of thing, and those thoughts tend to go like this, in very quick sequence.

    1) Hey! Google has every right to take advantage of their leadership and search dominance!

    2) But wait, they are always claiming the high road and press releases always imply strongly they don’t do manual ranking, manual penalties and adjustments when everybody in search knows that they do. Why do they have this hidden double standard that nobody talks about?

    3) And wait, they rarely admit mistakes or taking a “less than exemplary” or “whoops, that WAS evil!” apologetic tone. Google you saying you are 100% virtuous?

    4) But, but, all the engineers I’ve met to a person are great people, always very sincere in conversations and blogging, always committed to bettering the web even if there’s little in it for Google and sometimes if it’ll hurt Google. Clearly they surpass Yahoo and MSN in terms of self serving stuff.

    Hmmmm – I just don’t get Google.

  • http://commandos.cc/blog Dick Larkin

    Viva Google!

    See no evil

    Hear no evil

    Do no evil

    Link to no evil?

    Eyes on the prize, boys. Is this the best user experience, or are we becoming a tad territorial (pardon the terrible pun) about our maps?

  • http://www.avalancheinternetmarketing.com dangerlarson

    I can’t stand company statements that don’t answer the question. All I hear is “blah, blah, blah”

  • http://www.readermeetauthor.com Derick

    Despite what they’ve said in the past, I think we all need to realize that at the end of the day, Google is still a corporation. A money-making, self-interested, corporation.

    I’m not the least bit surprised that any of these changes to the results page are taking place. Back in the day Google was a search company. It was in their best interest to provide links to other services because they either didn’t have a similar service or had just developed one. Now they do everything. So what benefit does it serve them to link to the competition?

    A company can say it conducts business in the best interest of the customer. But they rarely do. Just like any other company, Google’s primary concern is its own stock price and bottom line.

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