MediaFile

from Summit Notebook:

Yahoo cedes search game to Google, for now

(Updated with more quotes)

If you're losing the game, time to change the playing field. Yahoo is counting on exactly that.

Ari Balogh, Yahoo's chief technology officer and product development czar, would be among the first to admit that Google reigns supreme in the search space.

"Search the way we know it, with 10 blue links, Google has clearly won that game. Saying anything other than that is just not stating the fact," he told the Reuters Global Technology Summit.

But Balogh says that doesn't mean Yahoo is giving up. Inviting comparisons to the automobile industry, now infamous for bankruptcy, ballooning debt and clunky design, Balogh says innovation in search is only just beginning, and it's too early to declare a winner yet. Ford and its Model T was once the pre-eminent mass-consumer vehicle, but today the once mighty Detroit giant -- the only one of the surviving Big Three that doesn't appear to be flirting with corporate failure -- has to fend off the likes of Toyota and Hyundai.

What's important to understand though is this really is like the auto industry in 1910....At that time, in 1915 or 1920, it sure looked like it was going to be Ford.

CES: Ford turns hip with Eva

Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveiled new features of its voice-command activated in-car system Sync yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, highlighting its connectivity with a driver’s other devices, including cell phones and personal computers.

Mulally then showed off a futuristic dashboard featuring an electronic personal assistant, Eva (for Emotive Voice Activation). In a small video clip of how it could all work, the Eva avatar engaged the driver in conversation and performed tasks like scheduling appointments. It’s the next generation of Ford’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) strategy, Mulally said.

“Everyone is growing up with a connected device and they don’t want to be disconnected,” Mulally told Reuters in a brief interview after his CES keynote address. Ford’s hoping its Sync service, developed with Microsoft and launched 18 months ago, will appeal especially to younger car buyers. Earlier, he’d said his five kids are his “focus group,” often e-mailing him articles about new gadgets and trends from Wired.com and other sites.

from Summit Notebook:

Diller to profitable companies: Lay off the layoffs

IAC Chief Executive Barry Diller took several groups to task at the Reuters Media Summit, but he reserved special disgust for CEOs at profitable companies who add to the country's rising unemployment rate.

Also targeted by the former Hollywood executive were "incredibly, shockingly stupid" Big 3 auto executives, the Internet's strange and growing dictionary, and Hollywood's lack of creativity.

Diller said companies had a higher obligation, especially in tough times like these: