2005 saw the world of search become a key focus for those firms hoping to keep in touch with Google's meteoric growth.
Google spent much of the year confounding its critics by reporting ever greater revnues and overtaking Cisco in value. In audacious fashion it closed the year preparing to buy a five per cent stake of AOL for $1bn.
If you blinked for too long this year you missed another Google product launch, which included a classified ads service called Google Base, music search and improved mapping. It also found time to launch an instant messaging and internet phone service as well as open a spanking new office in London's Victoria.
It had less of an easy time coping with the rights to the Gmail name for its free email service and eventually had to rename the service Googlemail. Meanwhile it also got into hot water with plans to scan millions of books attracting the ire of major publishers in the US.
Microsoft was left to fill the air with threatening words, some of which it would prefer it hadn't. Chief executive Steve Ballmer was reported as saying that the mission was to "kill Google", a comment he later denied.
Bill Gates said that Microsoft was going to overtake Google but details were somewhat thin on the ground. For a company that woke up to the internet in 1999 it still seems to be in a state of shock when it comes to online innovation. Not surprising when 99 per cent of your revenues come from shrink wrapped software.
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