Photo: Giorgio Montersino/Flickr
Google now controls vast swaths of the physical infrastructure that delivers its web services to the people, including everything from the massive data centers that underpin these services to all the machines it strategically places inside the ISPs that run internet connections to your home.
And Yahoo wants to be more like Google.
On Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that Yahoo had acquired PeerCDN, a “content delivery network” that puts photos and videos and other rich media internet media files closer to the people who want to look at them. This may seem like a rather geeky — and minor — bit of news, but it hints at the future of Marisa Mayer and company.
Netflix and Google, the owner of YouTube, already operate their own CDNs inside data centers owned by residential ISPs such as Comcast. That’s how you reduce delays when people want to watch online video, and clearly, Yahoo wants to do the same.
Is Yahoo a video company? Of course it is. It just hired former CBS anchor Katie Couric, and it is apparently bidding to acquire online TV hub Vimeo. Clearly, Yahoo is looking to provide more entertainment to its users, and a service like the one operated by PeerCDN would be a key part of this effort.
The PeerCDN acquisition highlights yet another way Yahoo is becoming more like Google. Once positioned as little more than a technological middleman arbitraging advertising opportunities, Yahoo now wants to reclaim its engineering mojo — and for good reason. Mayer has been outspoken about her dissatisfaction with a deal that outsourced Yahoo search to Microsoft. With the PeerCDN deal, she’s moving things in the other direction.
For Mayer, a computer scientist and longtime head of Google search products, integrating geeky operations like PeerCDN is the easy part. The hard work lies elsewhere: Shooting video that people actually want to see.