You Have 100 Days To Beat Google

Needless to say, Microsoft didn’t manage to meet that somewhat bizarre challenge.

Microsoft may have been willing to spend years developing Vista, the long-delayed upgrade of its Windows operating system, but when Bill Gates was presented with a plan for finally beating Google in Internet search technology, he gave the engineers just 100 days

When I was invited to Redmond to get a sneak peak of the new MSN search engine a few years back as part of SearchChamps, I left a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure how much more I can say due to still-existing non-disclosure agreements, but from information already published on the web, others clearly felt the same way. I thought that was a lot of potential from Microsoft Research, and clearly Microsoft has immense capability, and resources, but they haven’t really fired in the search space, as yet.

Are Microsoft the new IBM, and Google the new Microsoft?

Or are MS waiting for Vista to provide leverage?

They’ve been a little quiet of late. A little too quiet. As the article wisely states: “Don’t underestimate Microsoft”.

If there’s one prediction I’d make this year, it would be that this is the year that the MS search beast wakes.

Or maybe next year 🙂

  1. AndreyAndrey01-16-2007

    As Ask’s experience has shown, no single feature (or even a bundle of features) is going to make a significant dent in Google’s market share. Developing a good search engine might’ve been enough in 1998 but with Google having a huge head start and people growing used to searching with Google, Microsoft will not only have to get better in terms of search results but also change people’s perceptions.

    Google has an image of having quality search results. That is not always so but it’s the perception that matters. People know that Microsoft and Yahoo are not as good so they don’t use them. Even if they were as good as Google, there would be no reason for people to switch.

    Which brings me to my final point. Let’s stop the ““don’t underestimate Microsoft” points, they are pointless.


  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo01-16-2007

    Good points.

    >>but also change people’s perceptions

    That’s exactly what they should do. They should reframe what it means to “search”.

    >>they are pointless

    Heh heh. Quite possibly. But then I got a glimpse of what was in the pipeline.

    If MS can align marketing/product divisions closer to their research division, then they might surprise people.

  3. ukdazukdaz01-17-2007

    They might surprise people as they did with Ms Dewey but will they change user behaviour enough to stop their addictions to Google?

    I think I have seen only 2 clients use MSN and about 4 use Yahoo – everyone else in my client base will automatically go to Google…


  4. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo01-17-2007

    I don’t think they can take on Google directly. Not anytime soon.

    They would need to leverage the OS, and/or reframe the idea of search.

    For example, there could be an avatar like Ms Dewey which presents solutions to problems, as opposed to result sets which you must wade through.

    Google have also talked about this type of technology. Queries being subject to rich analysis, as opposed to simply being text-matched.

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