Marissa Mayer’s appearances at LeWeb have never been particularly noteworthy. She’s very good at giving the corporate line persuasively, but rarely gives out anything really juicy. It’s good to see Mike Arrington doing the interview this time, simply because she is being forced to work around some tougher questions.
I walked into the session after a meeting with some Six Apart folks to find her working carefully around some Murdoch and paywall-related questions. Google respects copyrights, she said carefully, and she thinks it would be a shame if Murdoch pulled his content from the index. She didn’t answer the question about paying publishers to index their content, but carefully redirected the discussion towards their other content monetisation strategies.
Where her appearances do become interesting is when she talks about the rationalisation behind new products. For example, real time search. Mayer was using Twitter for ski and snow updates, using Twitter search, because official sources don’t give true reports of snow depth. Ordinary people have no reason to lie about it.
“If you combine real time and social search, you can actually search the web your way. The perfect search engine would be credentialled as you, crawl the web as you, and show you that content. That’s a long way away.”