Yahoo is a natural media company – the company is willing to have overt editorial and commercial agendas, and to let humans intervene in search results so as to create media which supports those agendas. Google, on the other hand, is repelled by the idea of becoming a content- or editorially-driven company. While both companies can ostensibly lay claim to the mission of “organizing the world’s information and making it accessible” (though only Google actually claims that line as its mission), they approach the task with vastly different stances. Google sees the problem as one that can be solved mainly through technology – clever algorithms and sheer computational horsepower will prevail. Humans enter the search picture only when algorithms fail.
While there is no question that Yahoo has and employs world class technology and Google has media experience, I believe the distinction of “media vs. tech” is important when thinking about how each company might approach Hollywood so as to make paid content easily available to all of us at a value proposition that works for all players – content owner, consumer and distributor.