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Microsoft Wants to Take on Google 1073

Posted by chrisd
from the looksmart-worries dept.
blenderking writes "We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing,", says Bob Visse, director of marketing for Microsoft's MSN Internet services division, said. Full article at: Yahoo. This could have fit in with yesterday's April Fool's stories..."
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Microsoft Wants to Take on Google

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:10PM (#5649225) Homepage Journal
    Google isn't competition for Microsoft. Google is a quality product that actually works. Totally different than anything Microsoft puts out.
    • by Mmmrky (607987) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:14PM (#5649262)
      Exactly. Anything Microsoft puts out to compete is going to be so full of bloat that it will be a complete hastle to use. Why is Google so popular? Two words: simplicity and power.

      Google takes no time at all to load over a 56k modem, unlike most search engines, and makes searching incredibly simple.

      Microsoft has no chance.
      • by Clockwurk (577966) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:24PM (#5649324) Homepage
        Google is successful because it yields accurate and pertinant results, not because it loads fast on 56K. Google also is successful because it doesn't have pay-for-placement results. Google has some ads (unobtrusive at that), but if MS was running a search engine, they can afford to have no paid links, and no annoying ads.
        • by thumperward (553422) <thumperward@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:34PM (#5649405) Homepage
          I think you meant not just because it loads fast on a 56K. The mere thought of using another search engine while on dial-up chills my blood. I'd wager that a fair few Googlers out there use it primarily because it takes zero seconds to finish loading.

          - Chris
        • by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:09PM (#5649628) Journal
          Google also is successful because it doesn't have pay-for-placement results.

          Um, actually we spend thousands per month with Google's pay per click sponsored placement. Not as much as we spend on Overture's, but still a lot. They have had this program for about 6 months now. It is different than Overture's in that it combines your 'top bid' along with what it says is relevence, but believe me, its all in what you pay.

          That said, it is a great system, cost effective, and generates high quality leads that 3 times more likely to covert than AOL or Lycos. MSN comes second, then Yahoo. Aol has always sucked for conversion (buys during the same browsing session that they clicked on the ad) in the 3 years that I have tracked it. They do generate a lot of traffic, its just traffic that doesn't buy anything.

          So yea, Google wants to make money, too. Good for them.
      • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:59PM (#5649576) Homepage

        Microsoft has no chance.

        Can't you see the error messages when they leverage their search engine to promote IIS?

        Clicking on a link, a popup window:

        "Microsoft Search has detected that this page isn't running IIS, and therefore cannot verify the security of its ActiveX controls. Are you sure that you wish to continue? [default no] [Yes]"

        I don't put it past them.

      • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:05PM (#5649606)
        "Anything Microsoft puts out to compete is going to be so full of bloat that it will be a complete hastle to use."

        Everybody who generalizes sucks.
      • by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:13PM (#5649653) Homepage Journal
        "Anything Microsoft puts out to compete is going to be so full of bloat that it will be a complete hastle to use."

        Select Case User.Post
        Case Microsoft.Generalization$
        User.Karma = User.Karma + Moderation.Insightful

        Case Google.Obvious$
        User.Karma = User.Karma + Moderation.Insightful

        Case Microsoft.ReasonableObservation$
        User.Karm = User.Karma - Moderation.Troll

        Case Else
        User.Karma = User.Karma

        End Select
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:26PM (#5650048)
        One word for you: hotmail

        Yes, despite (still?) running on BSD (Free I recall) for years. Despite being so stupid as to let their domain registration run out. Despite most people receiving tons of spam. Despite annoying every other non-hotmail person with an email account by being, besides AOL and know the far east, THE source of spam. Despite having outages of days.

        Some people by the percentages are stupid. That means there are a LOT of stupid people.

        The upside? They still don't control the email market. iow, let them compete. It'll drain their bank accounts when they find they can't corner the market.

        The downside? The only way they can compete is using patents. They'll buy them. Make up crap ones. They'll use what they have to threaten others of less financial capital. They'll tie up competitors in lawsuits and drain them, esp. given that they have monopoly power and market mass such that they use their options (people buy their stock which they simply spend) to hammer down the competition.

        Fortunately, the only way they'll pull a IE vs. Netscape on this one is if they force the URL field of IE whenever it sees "google.com/" to go to whatever they're pushing.

        btw, why do you think they brought up Google now, of all times? Because of the recent talk of IPO. Whether or not google does it soon, the mere shot that MS might be in there will have investors thinking twice. Maybe a small affect, but a swing of $100 million or so due to dubious (hmm, what is this worth in 2 years if MS gets in?) may be just the effect MS intended.
      • No chance? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Decimal (154606) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:04AM (#5650212) Homepage Journal
        Exactly. Anything Microsoft puts out to compete is going to be so full of bloat that it will be a complete hastle to use. Why is Google so popular? Two words: simplicity and power.

        Google takes no time at all to load over a 56k modem, unlike most search engines, and makes searching incredibly simple.

        Microsoft has no chance.


        Microsoft has Internet Explorer, the browser most people use to access these sites. Type in any common text at the top of IE -- it will act as a search for MSN if not disabled. Most people don't know how to change their home page from MSN and really don't care to.

        Microsoft has Windows. This is a prime advertising space, the perfect place for "Try MSN search now!" pop-up ads to come up when first used and every now and then if not disabled.

        Microsoft has more money now than Google ever will. They can blanket the airwaves with MSN-search specific ads and it will be no more of a bother to them than discarding pocket change.

        Microsoft has clout. There will be no lack of tech reviews comparing MSN Search and Google.

        Microsoft has every chance.
    • Microsoft will win (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:34PM (#5649402) Homepage Journal

      Don't get me wrong, I don't think Microsoft deserves to, but there's only so much you can do to hold off the 600 lb gorilla that controls the OS and browser used by 95% of PC owners.

      Every member of my extended family already uses MSN search just because Internet Explorer defaults to it... and they are Mac users!

      Microsoft could produce manure in paper bags and people would eat it as long as it was bundled.

    • by hh1000 (303370) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:35PM (#5649412)
      Try searching Microsoft's site for "xml notepad download", then try Google with "site:microsoft.com xml notepad download".

      You'll quickly discover that Google searches Microsoft own websites better than Microsoft does!

    • by MrLint (519792) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:05PM (#5649605) Journal
      Im starting to think MS doenst even know what market its in. Now see Symantec anti virus.. thats a competitor MS could really put out of business if it wanted to ;)
    • Monopoly vs monopoly (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @01:56AM (#5650719)
      I think its pretty obvious why MS has its sights set on Google: they've both quickly consolidated applications and information arguably best left for numerous companies to compete over.

      MS has the only OS that matters in the world and the most important business software in the world. Not to mention its inroads into the server market and how its web and email apps are how most people interface with the internet.

      Google has web indexing, searching, USENET, news, and soon will the the first and last word in blogs.

      These are two very powerful companies that contain a great deal of the world's computing applications. They're both insanely huge in importance and dominate their respective markets.

      I know theres a lot of Google cheerleading here, but at the end of the day its just a company. There was just as much MS cheerleading when Bill was seen as the sole nerd against an army of suits at IBM.

      MS attacking google can be a very good thing. It'll put more pressure on Google to deliver the goods (wheres my NLP search and regional searches?). Google should attack MS as well. They could get into the Office Suite business. Imagine a google branded version of Open Office or StarOffice with some cool proprietary google add-ons free for download. Now would be a great time, Joe Sixpack can't copy the boss's XP Office license anymore.

      Ideally, I'd rather see open formats and more companies coming in with new and better ideas, but in a world of brands and product loyalty (google cheerleaders you know who you are) monopoly vs monopoly may be the best we can hope for.
  • If MSN want's a better search engine then Google then just make it and let the users judge it. Viewing Google as a competitor from the consumer viewpoint is a mistake. Google is a streamlined efficient search engine while MSN is a hodgepodge of Internet services for the masses.

    Maybe Microsoft is disappointed that google will not have an IPO anytime soon [slashdot.org], reducing possibility to easily buy Google and plug it into MSN.

    If Microsoft wants to ensure their long term future they need to improve the server OS's and innovate in client software, not worry about being everything to everyone.
    • by critter_hunter (568942) <critter_hunter@h ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:33PM (#5649393)

      But they don't need a better search engine to beat Google. They just need to neatly integrate their SE into Windows XP2 or whatever, really push it on sites such as Hotmail and MSN and other high-visibility sites, things like that. They are Microsoft, they don't need to have the better product to beat the competition.

      In fact, I think their history shows that it is in fact the other way around - MS managed to get the upper hand many times with an inferior product.

      Of course, it's Google. It's got both quality and enormous brand recognition - not an easy target, not even for Microsoft

      • by deadsaijinx* (637410) <animemeken@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:12PM (#5649648) Homepage
        Actually, they really DO need to offer a better product. Other than to check your junkmail once a week, why do you go to hotmail or MSN or any of their other sites. Integrate it into Winders Longhorn (or XP2, whatever)? People will still turn to google first. Google is know, google is trusted, google is reliable, and google is fast.

        To beat google, you'll need something nice. REALLY nice. .... I mean REEEEEAAALLLLYYY NICE. Maybe if they gave me a couple hundred dollars for time lost using their worthless search, I'd start to use it. 0_o

      • They just need to neatly integrate their SE into Windows XP2 or whatever

        I would gues the whatever is longhorn.. It's main conceptual improvement being touted is the 'filesystem is a (searchable) database'. How easy would it be to extend your local search to 'Search the web for [term]'. If they would go that route ,and make it usefull enough, i'm sure most current-day search engines would die in a few years unless they find new niche-markets
    • Where you been? (Score:4, Informative)

      by siskbc (598067) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:20PM (#5649692) Homepage
      If Microsoft wants to ensure their long term future they need to improve the server OS's and innovate in client software, not worry about being everything to everyone.

      Viewing Google as a competitor from the consumer viewpoint is a mistake.

      Except M$ got where it is by not caring about security, ripping off others' innovations then killing their company, dabbling in all markets, and only viewing competitors from the consumer viewpoint.

      Seriously, when has quality even been part of M$'s strategy (and strange as this may sound, I don't mean that as a flame). If you have an ineffective DOJ, why not just keep utilizing your marketing and monopolistic strength to kill off competitors? Why is there any need to improve?

      And sadly, this extends to a large degree to enterprise software as well. How smart is the typical CIO? Even more important, how much does the CEO know about software? Not much, which is why MS software is the safe choice for CIO's. Like the saying goes, buying MS doesn't get people fired (not *quite* true, but you get the idea).

      A combination of FUD, astroturfing, buying shill journalists, buying out companies, market-killing monopoly extending has always been a good way for MS to win. Why would they stop now?

      Quite frankly, I wouldn't do anything different from how they're doing it, except for their deranged obsession with piracy. If they ever figure out that widespread piracy does for them what they couldn't even LEGALLY DO (ie, dumping and undercutting to achieve market saturation), most of their OSS problems would disappear. Their arrogance in this area is one of the few things that could ever bring them down.

  • I'm sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by btlzu2 (99039) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:11PM (#5649229) Homepage Journal
    ...but can they leave ANYTHING alone? What's next? I won't be surprised if they branch out into other markets...Oh, GM is selling a lot of cars, we view them as a competitor. Sheesh.
    • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bughunter (10093) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:47PM (#5649492) Journal
      This is what MS refers to as "innovation." It's not creating new products, and therefore new markets. It's identifying an existing market and taking it over. Kinda like when MacDonalds sees a successful mom and pop burger joint, and then decides to open a new franchise right across the street.

      That just happened in my neighborhood. The mom and pop joint has far better burgers, and real milkshakes, but when the zombie masses see the golden arches they act as if their decision has been made for them and go for the Big Macs.

      Result: Mom and Pop are now losing money and will soon close their burger joint, one that's been there for almost 30 years. So Sad.

      • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pmineiro (556272) <paul AT mineiro DOT com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:59PM (#5649571) Homepage
        The mom and pop joint has far better burgers, and real milkshakes, but when the zombie masses see the golden arches they act as if their decision has been made for them and go for the Big Macs.

        IMHO, while this is somewhat saddening, this is actually rational behavior on the part of the "zombies". The quality of McD's product is fairly constant, and although not superlative, has low associated risk. The mom and pop store involves risk, in this case it's better, but you don't know that in advance, and it can take alot of time trying out all the little places to find better stuff.

        aka sharpe's ratio [google.com].

        -- p

        p.z. i hope m$ tries to take on google; as long as there is no unfair bundling with the OS, competition will only spur more innovation by both parties.
        • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by istartedi (132515)

          This reminds me of the time we stopped in Jarretsville, MD. Just one piece of advice: don't. Ditto for Sperryville, VA (unless you want to go to what looked like a really fancy sit-down, which I didn't check out). The Sperryville experience actually involved me pulling away from the store, taking a bite of the sandwhich, and spitting it out because the meat tasted spoiled. That almost never happens at nationwide chains, and if it does, and you take it back, you'll get a quality replacement. I knew it

      • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cybercuzco (100904)
        This happened near me too,, Mcdonalds actually tried to put up their "golden arches" so that it would block their competitors sign. Mcdonalds got sued and actually settled with the mom and pop, which is still in buisness, 5 years later.
  • by mrseigen (518390) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:11PM (#5649230) Homepage Journal
    It'll be interesting to see if Google is really evil enough to beat Microsoft. Oh, and Microsoft's search engine really sucks (at least the few times I've used it), so it'll be good to see a version that doesn't.
  • by crotherm (160925) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:11PM (#5649232) Journal
    Granted all companines should look to grow and prosper, but what about making sure what you are already doing is ready for prime time. Microsoft as a company has a horrible case of feature creep.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:12PM (#5649240)
    PALO ALTO, Calif., April 2 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. the world's No. 1 software maker, on Wednesday said it is taking aim at privately held Google (News - Websites)Inc., the Web-search company that's so popular its name is used as a verb.

    "We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing," Bob Visse, director of marketing for Microsoft's MSN Internet services division, said.

    Visse said the company was making some significant investments in developing a better search engine. But the company has not offered specific plans.

    Microsoft would not be the first Web portal provider to step into the Web search segment. Last month, Internet media company Yahoo Inc. closed its $235 million purchase of Internet-search company Inktomi Corp.

    Microsoft has said its been searching for ways to capitalize on its various technologies, for example data retrieval and analysis, by entering new markets. It has also targeted security software.

    Google, the No. 1 Web-search provider, has become so pervasive that it is not uncommon for people to refer to searching the Internet as "googling".

    A Google representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Google has been seen as a top IPO candidate despite a lagging economy, but a company co-founder recently told attendees at a high-tech conference that going public is not on the front burner for the Silicon Valley company.

  • a little too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v_1_r_u_5 (462399) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:14PM (#5649260)
    Google is already so powerful and so popular that it's already a verb in most people's vocabulary. It is unlikely that Microsoft would be able to overcome this popularity so late in the game, especially since Google is totally platform independent.
  • by HisMother (413313) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:16PM (#5649272)
    The great thing about Google is that by and large, they're not selling anything except search technology. They've got ads, but they're always clearly marked as such, and they're easy to ignore. As a result, when you search for something on Google, barring the odd restriction on Nazi paraphernalia and Scientology, you feel that you're getting the straight dope. For technical information, this is certainly true.

    In contrast, Microsoft is selling a world view -- theirs. I can't even imagine searching for gcc, or Java, or "Linus Torvalds" on Microogle and expecting to get useful information. You don't ask a plumber if your pipes need fixing.

    • by Lendrick (314723) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:41PM (#5649450) Homepage Journal
      Funny you should mention that. I searched for "Linux" at search.msn.com just for kicks, and the first three results went like this:


      # Amazon.com
      Buy Linux software at the Amazon.com software store.

      # Introducing Linux (at tech.msn.com)
      Find the latest news and information on this operating system.

      # Alternatives to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP (at microsoft.com)
      Learn about the Microsoft alternatives and how to move to them from open source products.


      The three after it are all sponsor links. They're marked as such, but not clearly. After that, it continues with some more links, which are of somewhat better quality. In contrast, Google's top three results are linux.org, linux.com, and redhat.com.

      Until MS separates out the advertising a bit better and stops skewing the top links quite so much to suit its own opinion, people aren't going to use their search site. Oh, and they need to lose the advertising image and simplify their page.
      • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:26PM (#5650043)
        They're not clearly marked as sponsor links? Gee, let's take a look. The first three are marked as "featured sites" by the text, "FEATURED SITES - ABOUT". The next 3 hits are labeled, "SPONSORED SITES - ABOUT" in exactly the same font. Furthermore, the "sponsored sites" which you are complaining about are not numbered and instead marked by a bullet, further setting them apart.
  • by deepchasm (522082) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:16PM (#5649273)

    Visse said the company was making some significant investments in developing a better search engine. But the company has not offered specific plans.

    From past experience Microsoft's idea of better is more packed with features. I use Google because it is fast, efficient, and has unobtrusive advertising. Can you honestly see Microsoft competing on those terms?

    • by John Whitley (6067) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:41PM (#5649448) Homepage
      I use Google because it is fast, efficient, and has unobtrusive advertising.

      I'll add something to that -- Google is one of the very few sites that receives ad clicks from me! There are (at least) two big mistakes that so many web ads are prone to: 1) no personal relevance to the viewer and 2) they're damned annoying. Either of these is a deal-breaker for me.

      Google manages to avoid the first failing by tying ads to the search topic. Thus if you're doing product research via Google, you're likely to encounter some relevant advertiser links.

      Similarly, Google maintains control over the ad format. This dodges the second failing by ensuring that the ads are consistent with the unclutered nature of the site, are visually inoffensive, and are distinct from the search content. (Hmm... that seems oddly similar to sponsored placements on NPR stations. Go fig.)
    • From past experience Microsoft's idea of better is more packed with features. I use Google because it is fast, efficient, and has unobtrusive advertising. Can you honestly see Microsoft competing on those terms?

      Actually, I can. Microsoft are quite comfortable with simply buying a market. They just pour money onto it, embrace and extend it, FUD it; and ship it with their OS, and then finally they own it (usually). Check out IE. Other browsers are a tiny percentage of the market. Check out Microsoft Word fo

  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:17PM (#5649278) Homepage
    ...then it'll finally own the only decent way to navigate microsoft's own website
  • Dies... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 1stflight (48795) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:17PM (#5649279)
    I think I just died of laughter.... what are they going to run their search engine on? MSSQL ?!!!!
  • by jspoon (585173) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:17PM (#5649280)
    I don't want a ****ing 'user experience' out of my search engine. I want a page that loads fast and gives me the answers I'm looking for.
  • by abcxyz (142455) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:19PM (#5649294) Homepage
    I think that historically, "trying to build the better mouse trap", has produced numbers of new and innovative products. It's very important to the future of technology that other companies evaluate the status quo and try to improve on it. If Microsoft or any other company can develop a search engine that better's Google approach, then that's great and we'll all use it.

  • Fine... Let 'em try! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KC7GR (473279) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:21PM (#5649309) Homepage Journal
    If Steve "Uncle Fester" Balmy thinks he can produce a better product than Google, then I personally invite him to stick his neck out and do it!

    However, he should bear in mind that whatever MS creates:

    (1) Will have to have a noticeable lack of any sort of banner ads or popups.

    (2) Will have to have a clean, simple, easy-to-use interface that's compatible with ANY BROWSER, from the text-based Lynx on up to the latest version of Opera, Netscape, or IE.

    (3) Will have to be fully compatible with text-based screen readers, such as those used by vision-impaired folks.

    (4) Will actually have to work as well as, or better than, Google if MS wants it to have a ghost of a chance.

    Right now, Google completely fulfills requirements 1-3. I will be watching with great amusement as Uncle Steve and his Cronies try to add "value" to the search engine "experience," and most likely fall flat on their collective arses doing it.

  • Good Thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BSDevil (301159) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:22PM (#5649318) Journal
    In many ways, I see this as a good thing. If MS wants to build a better search engine with a "better product and a better user experience", more power to them. They can't do anything to make me stop using Google, so why should I be worried if they see Google as a competitor?

    Should MS, by some miracle, come up with a better search engine and a better interface, then I'll use it because it's the best for me. If they come up with a new feature that I like, I'll use it. I don't really care who's engine it is, so long as it finds the results I'm looking for. If it sucks (as I suspect it will), then that's a few million dollars less for Bill and Steve. Either way, we the users win.

    Competition at work: may the best search engine win.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:23PM (#5649322) Homepage Journal
    i use google exclusively for my searching. i use google to search microsoft sites. I use google to help me search MSDN. The people that write MSDN work in the same building as I do.

    I think google is the stuff and i rarely see a need to use anything else. it is -Exactly- the interface that i want and it is lightning fast with no distractions.

    perhaps there is some breakthough in searching/indexing technology that MS thinks they can make. I'd buy that - there are lots of bright people here that really understand interesting problems with other approaches and can turn that understanding into solid products.

    or perhaps someone decided google isn't "friendly" enough (i.e. not filled with crap, ads, marketing tie-ins, etc etc) and needs to be cluttered up and "popularized". maybe someone simply wants MS to have the #1 search and thats driving the whole story..

    My worry is that whatever comes out of this, it will end up being 800kb of dhtml and popups and shitty ads. I don't think anything will ever replace google for what the majority of people use it for unless it is as simple and stripped down as google is, interface wise. i mean, i have a vested financial interest in MS products doing well but i still find myself using what i feel is the right tool for the job which fits my usage habits best, and for basically all searching tasks thats google.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:25PM (#5649336)
    I want to know why the hell I have a better chance of finding the microsoft support document I need with google then I do searching directly from support.microsoft.com...
  • PC Magazine Quote (Score:3, Informative)

    by Likes Microsoft (662147) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:26PM (#5649344) Homepage
    An article month's PC Magazine [pcmag.com] mentioned this. The author shuddered at what a Microsoft Google would look like, perhaps something similar to the "teenage clutter" of MSN.
  • by Introspective (71476) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:29PM (#5649362) Homepage
    A Google representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

    The rep was too busy cleaning up the coffee that he'd laughed out of his nose.
  • by Mainframer (530235) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:29PM (#5649367)
    "We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing..."

    ...And to achieve it, we will buy Google...
  • by Nathdot (465087) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:29PM (#5649369)
    Did you mean: Windows XP

    Your search - linux "open source" - did not match any documents.
    No pages were found containing "linux", "open source".

    Suggestions:

    - Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    - Try different keywords.
    - Try more general keywords.

    Also, you can try Mooglesoft Answers for expert help with your search.
  • by md17 (68506) <james@NosPAm.jamesward.org> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:29PM (#5649370) Homepage
    Everyone is missing the point here... Let's assume that Micro$oft could actually create a search engine 70% as good as Google. Then they bundle it into their OS and IE. Then market the crap out of it. Do you really think that the normal Windows user will continue to use Google? This is the whole problem with those bastards controlling the desktop OS which 90% of the world uses. They really can do this kind of stuff and get away with it. Remember Netscape, WordPerfect, etc. Be afraid. Be very afraid. And since I am in a good mood I will give a few suggestions for helping to change this situation:
    1) Write a windows worm / virus
    2) Contribute to the linux kernel, kde, gnome, etc.
    3) Teach your friends and family how to actually use Linux.
    • Netscape, remember how much 4.X sucked? That is when Netscape lost their market share. I loved Netscape until version 4, I kept with them til about 4.5 when I realized they weren't fixing the crashes. Then I moved to IE4, which sucked a little less, and by version 5 IE was actually usable. Now, I use mozilla because it is a better product. The problem is Netscape let their users down for 4.x, after that they were competiting against an MS held market which is an uphill battle. Products can hold their own
    • by FallLine (12211) <fallline@ope[ ]ail.com ['ram' in gap]> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:27PM (#5649734)
      Two points.

      A) This is why we have patents. Google has novel technology and they have (hopefully strong) patents on it. It's not very likely that MS will find a method that is as good without walking into a lawsuit. Netscape had no strong IP--they bet on their market penetration and headstart.

      B) There's not much MS can do to google short of blatantly re-jiggering IE to stop functioning with google (and google's inevitable responses). Unlike the situation with Netscape, google does not have to contend with network effects. They don't have to install anything on the users machine and they don't have much exposure to MS' API antics. There's not much that MS can "add" over and above what Google does. MS can try to embed their own search engine interface into IE (I think they already do by default)--but it's a nominal advantage and something that can easily be matched by 3rd party tools.

      I can't stand MS, but fortunately Google is one of the few companies that MS can't kill with their traditional techniques. Their best option would be to try to acquire it, but given Google's popularity and MS's lack of leverage on them, they'd take a huge hit (mucho dinero) to do so. That and I don't think Google really threatens MS so there'd be little incentive for them to do so.
  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sgage (109086) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:30PM (#5649377)
    Why is Google perceived by MS to be a competitor? Why does MS feel compelled to own everything? Why not admit that Google is excellent, that there's already lots of competition in the search engine niche, and get on with life?

    I try and try not to hate MS (I hate hating, and personally find it exhausting :-), but they regularly come up with stuff like this, and it just disgusts me. They're like evil monkeys. Just can't stop fidgeting, fidgeting, fidgeting.
  • Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smartin (942) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:33PM (#5649395)
    Microsoft really can't tolerate anyone else anywhere near the industry. The sad part is that by having the evil empire even express interest in putting Google out of business, they will probably screw Googles chance at a decent IPO.
  • by Bitmanhome (254112) <bitman@@@pobox...com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:40PM (#5649440)
    We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience.
    Google doesn't provide a "user experience", it provides a search engine, and nothing more. You can't beat Google if you fiddle with that formula.
    • Google doesn't provide a "user experience"

      You are right, Google doesn't - but maybe, he was referring to the "I'm feeling lucky" button, which, in case of M$' search engine will crash your machine 3 times out of 5?
      Just a thought...

  • by eMartin (210973) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:46PM (#5649484)
    "We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience."

    I'd imagine that means having links to hotmail, articles on other MSN-related sites, advertisements, having to log in (and out for those using public computers), etc.

    I seriously don't understand how anyone can actually think that these things provide a "better experience" for a search system than a box for entering search terms and a button to start the search, all resulting in a simple list of relevant results. How is this [msn.com] better than this [google.com]?

    Even as a "portal" (more so than before), Google still does a better job than the others.
  • by jridley (9305) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:58PM (#5649564)
    If Microsoft has their search be the default search, even if they offer a way to switch it to google, 90% of the people won't ever bother.

    Heck, 90% of the people where I work still have MSN.com as their start page, the way it shipped with IE. When I ask why they haven't changed it, they just say "Eh, why bother? It's alright the way it is." This is at a software development company.

    Likewise, when people complain about how much popups suck, I tell them "Fine, so run Mozilla, and it's not a problem" they sound really enthused, but when I ask them a month later, "Eh, I never got around to it."

    If your stuff is installed by default on every shipping computer, you don't have to be the best, or even very good. Most people will just never bother to change it even if it's just a matter of clicking a checkbox.
  • by Jack Tanner (181565) <(ihok) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:12PM (#5649647)
    Information retrieval is an interesting field. It has its own ways of measuring performance, like precision and recall. Web search engines want to maximize both precision (the number of sites actually relevant to the query out of all that the engine retrieves) and recall (the number of sites the engine retrieves out of all that are actually relevant to the query).

    On a purely technical level, ignoring things like marketing, etc., the Google vs whatever contest is a matter of comparing metrics like precision and recall.

    Guess what, it's at least theoretically possible to do better than Google.

    Guess what, Microsoft Research has some top people in information retrieval (Susan Dumais [microsoft.com], one of the authors of Latent Semantic Analysis, for one).

    If Microsoft wants to compete, it certainly has the ability to do so.

    The flipside of this coin is that Google may be "good enough" (in the Yourdon [yourdon.com] sense of the word). But here is where Microsoft comes in with its convenient desktop and browser Monopoly.
    • MS could do technically better than Google, yes. If their technical people were left alone to do the job. That won't happen. MS will want to either monetize the search results or otherwise take advantage of them. And they'll flop precisely because people use Google to avoid exactly that.

  • by standards (461431) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:19PM (#5649685)
    Microsoft could "innovate" (term used loosely) "prefered searching partners". Vendors would exclusively partner with Microsoft to provide normally unsearchable data to Microsoft search engines.

    That's the way Microsoft can beat Google: legal partnerships to restrict the flow of data to all competitors except Microsoft.

    Stay tuned. Microsoft can't win on technology, but they can win with deep pockets and monopolistic practices every time.
  • by puppetman (131489) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:31PM (#5649749) Homepage
    More like Shock and Scorn.

    Or Shock and Derision.

    Or Shock and Loud Laughter That Echo's Through the Cube Farm and All The Way Down the Hallway.
  • by Zapdos (70654) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:15PM (#5649986)
    My M$ Hotmail is such a good user experience that I am sure M$ will win this one folks.

    Here are just a few of the great thing I have learned today?

    1.) I was able to help out a coed who was low on cash, and had just bought a camera.
    2.) I have found out how to refinance my House.
    3.) I now can have up to 26 physical contractions during climax.
    4.) I am considering the Get Bigger 100% Proven Results offer.
    5.) I may be able to get rid of high credit card intrest

    How could google beat these people?

  • by UncleOlethros (581729) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:34PM (#5650081)
    This announcement doesn't surprise me in the least--indeed, I've been expecting to hear some sort of an announcement that Microsoft was intending to offer some sort of search engine widget.

    For the last several weeks, my web server logs have shown that my sites have been crawled heavily by bots from Microsoft-owned IP addresses. (I know they're bots because, even though they don't identify themselves, they DO pick up robots.txt and obey it.)

    This has been going on since, oh, about mid-February.

    Aside from not identifying themselves, the bots are well-behaved: they pick up and obey robots.txt, and they only request a single page at a time and take a few minutes between requests so as to not overtax my servers.

    So, yeah...this announcement is no big surprise to me.

  • I like Microsoft. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:44PM (#5650123)
    I do. They make a better browser. The make a better word processor. They make the best mice and joysticks. They make great games. XP is an excellent OS. Not everything they make is great but no company has a perfect track record.

    Back in grad school (starting in '93) I was anti-MS, for no good reason other than they were so big. When I bought a new computer I strongly considered geting OS/2 for it (phew...dodged that bullet). I bought the WordPerfect suite to write my thesis with. I used Navigator to surf the web on my PC. You know, a funny thing happened. WordPerfect was ok for small documents but for something like my modest thesis with images it sucked. I gave MS Office a go (I had never used it before then) and was sold...it got the job done. After I left grad school IE3 was released...the first version to exceed NN. IE has never looked back. For an OS, I have XP at work and home (in addition to an installation of Linux via VMWare for testing) and it works. It doesn't crash, runs fine. One of my Linux zealot coworkers seems to be forever downloading the latest build of something or looking for a better widget, all while Linux looks more and more like Windows on the desktop. I do use OpenOffice.org suite on my home computer, because I gave my wife my copy of Office XP to use on her computer. For simple spreadsheet work and basic letter writing it's fine. It's still no match for Office though.

    So years ago I gave up the pro-this, anti-that stance and took one that's pro-me. I use what works best for me. Period. Best search engine? Google (which is not a verb, you trying-to-be-cool buzzword compliant geeks). If another search engine is better for me, than great, I'll use it. Same goes for other products. I don't have time to waste on half-assed products just to make a point. I want to spend less time wrestling with software and more time getting things done (which translates to more time with my family). I know it's sacrilege to say so here in the geek hive, but MS products generally are better than competing products.
  • by jolyonr (560227) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:03AM (#5650203) Homepage
    Go to google.com and do a search for

    The best search engine

    now go to google and do a search for

    The worst search engine.

    Fun :)

    Jolyon
  • by Tokerat (150341) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:22AM (#5650300) Journal

    Put simply: they try to be everything and everyone. They are always trying to be the "next big thing", but not by putting all their efforts into making their current endeavours into quality results, but instead trying to spread their manpower (and therefore their streams of income) over the vast technology market.

    Oh, sure other companies do this too, but not the way MS does. Apple, for example, doesn't have their own database software (anthough they do have their own browser now). Sun doesn't have their own search engine. Redhat doesn't have a special online service. And Google does not have their own OS.

    Seriously, as the largest software company in the world, Microsoft could still make it to step three (if you've been under a rock for 2 years: "Profit!") without trying to be the one and only market leader for everything technology related. They need to make Windows, and perhaps their Office Suite, and make them good, and less expensive. They need to work with other developers, even if those developers aren't paying them top dollar to be part of the MSDN. Open Standards. Simplicity.

    Quality.

    And this is why we hate Microsoft. Greed before quality.
  • by ZoneGray (168419) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:47AM (#5650420) Homepage
    Micorsoft taking on Google? This is like those Iraqi press conferences where they claim that they're going to lash out and smite the agressors. Sheesh.

    Come to think of it, are we really sure Bill Gates is alive? I mean, I'm sure it's him in those videotapes, but you really can't be sure of when they're made. You notice he never holds up a current newspaper when you see him on TV?

    Seriously, one of the big reasons Google is popular is that it's not at all like Microsoft. It will be difficult for Microsoft to duplicate that formula.
  • by esconsult1 (203878) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:49AM (#5650442) Homepage Journal
    They're probably going to acquire someone really soon, just to get a jumpstart on the Paid clicks technology space (PPC). Probably findwhat.com [findwhat.com]?

    Lets face it, Google has algorithmic search sewn up for now, and MSN's search sucks so bad, that they are going to have a heck of a time convincing people to use a "new improved" MSN search.

    Let's assume that 50% of American users are already online... If you'e buying books and you've been on the web for more that 1 year, you've pretty much narrowed it down to one or two sites where you're going to ever buy books online. Similarly, you've narrowed down your search preferences.

    My landlord loves Dogpile and will never switch even though he knows that Google is better.

    My point is that Microsoft will have to aim their search at that 5% of the 50% of US users that are total newbies. And they're going to have to force them to do it through the IE browser and other nefarious means.

    The US search market is already well segmented, and unless they are heading for China or India (or post Sadaam Iraq), then I wish them luck.

  • And the Truth is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @03:39AM (#5651015) Homepage
    Everybody I know at Microsoft, where I work as a contractor, uses Google as their primary search engine. Here's an example of why: recently at work I wanted the syntax for the VBScript SELECT CASE statement. I already had an MSDN window open for something else, so I typed in "vbscript select case" and here's what it found. [microsoft.com] Not wanting to wade through this mass of irrelevance I typed the exact same thing into Google and got this, [google.com] a whole page of exactly what I was looking for.

    Rock on.

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