I had a good talk yesterday with Jeff Weiner, Senior VP of Search and Marketplace over at Yahoo! I shouldn’t pass on what Jeff said; anyhow if he wants to talk to the world, he has a blog. But I can talk about what I said: first, Y! should be watching the Atom protocol work like a hawk, because they have two choices: either they try to beat everyone else out there and build the world’s greatest authoring tool, or they get behind a standardized protocol and let the cellphone guys and PDA people and let everyone compete to do it. Second, we were talking about improving search in general; near as I can tell, there isn’t a huge quality gap between Y!, Google, and MSN, and it’s hard to believe that any of them can sustainably get much ahead of the rest. On the other hand, I think Y! has a good chance to take on Google in the advertising space, both AdSense and AdWords, and maybe win. They know a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of people; for example, they know my stock-market portfolio and what weather forecasts and maps I look up; they probably have more information about more individuals than anyone else in the business. On behalf of all those advertising sellers and buyers: it would sure be nice to see some competition. Maybe even some transparency.