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The Internet Microsoft

Google v. Microsoft 602

Posted by michael
from the death-match dept.
ph43thon writes "The New York Times business section has an article, The Coming Search Wars, about Google and Microsoft. It's fairly long and pretty interesting. Oddly, the writer or somebody out there, seems to think that Google v. Microsoft is analogous to Netscape v. Microsoft. I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application. Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy."
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Google v. Microsoft

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  • by SilentJ_PDX (559136) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:41PM (#8152927) Homepage
    Microsoft gets to preload the OS with their preference (a browser that defaults to the MS search engine). There may not be a 20MB download that stands in the way of Joe User choosing a different search engine, but given the choice between a search box in the browser and having to type in "www.google.com", I think most users will choose the former.

    I'm not saying the users can't make another choice, I'm just saying they won't bother.
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:42PM (#8152946) Homepage
    Here is the article [economist.com] I mentioned in my parent post, along with the matching Slashdot article [slashdot.org].
  • google news (Score:3, Informative)

    by CoJoNEs (73698) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:47PM (#8152999) Homepage
    for those of you who don't want to subscribe to the times just click on Google News [google.com]
  • by MrAngryForNoReason (711935) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:48PM (#8153007)

    all they really have to do is offer a new service as a free add-on to Windows, then simply build that service into the next version of Windows

    They have effectively already done this. The search function in IE defaults to msn search, and if you mistype a url it sends you to their search engine as well. Because of this the popularity of msn search is massively overstated as a lot of the hits are due to typos.

  • by kevcol (3467) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:48PM (#8153012) Homepage
    Not only that, but search just plain ol' google with these terms:

    "index of /" directory modified
    ..and whatever term you want to add to that mix.

    You can find lotsa unprotected directories with lotsa FREE, umm.. stuff.
  • A Search Application (Score:3, Informative)

    by leoaugust (665240) <leoaugust@gma i l .com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:52PM (#8153035) Journal
    I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application.

    I think the application comes into picture via the Google Toolbar [slashdot.org] and also the need to somehow organize all the Google Services & Tools [google.com]. & Google has also gotten into one-click Blogging via Blogger.

    In addition there are tools that visually organize the Google Search results, SearchDay - Visualizing the Web with Google - 8 January 2003 [searchenginewatch.com]

    When you start having a book called Google Hacks [oreilly.com], you know that there are a lot of HPI's (like API's but for H-Hacking), you know that there is a better way to offer access to these hacks via well organized tools. That is the form and function of the application.

    Of course there are other applications like Copernic [copernic.com] ( a longer listing here Search Tools [google.com]), but I think the current applications have miniscule following. What will come from Microsoft or Google will flood the market.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @03:53PM (#8153047) Homepage
    You're right. But all that's changed is their search engine has got better to the point where some users might not consider finding google to be worth the hassle. The attempt to drive everyone there is nothing new.
  • by Ironica (124657) <pixel@@@boondock...org> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:04PM (#8153116) Journal
    Not to me. I fought to use Netscape 4 for years and finally got sick of the constant crashes and switched to the dark side. I've tried a number of Mozilla releases and haven't found the same speed and stability I get from IE. I admit I haven't tried in the last year, it's just such a pain to switch browser only to switch back.

    Yeah, I used Netscape 4.77 up until Mozilla got to 1.0, actually. And the crashes were annoying.

    But when IE 4 crashed (and I used to use it a lot too) it took my entire DESKTOP with it. And so, even if Netscape crashed more often (as I recall, they were even) I could keep going with other programs.

    Feature-wise, they were similar, except for ActiveX (which most folks don't use because it's so platform-specific, not to mention insecure). IE5 beats Netscape 4, sure, but that's not the comparison that was being made.
  • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:06PM (#8153133)
    Yes, when you search [msn.com] for "linux", it says there are 429 results. But as you flip through the pages of results, the total changes to 408, 407, 369, etc. At the 18th page or so, the listed total shoots up to 14190051. It's crappy estimation, yes, but the search isn't biased the way it appears.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:10PM (#8153166)
    Personally, I'm finding Google less and less useful as commercial interests find out how to "spam". It used to be that if you were looking for information for a particular piece of hardware, you could type the model number (and possibly the manufacturer) and get back real results. I've found that now the first 50 results are a bunch of bogus sales portals that merely refer me to some other site that sells the product. I have to really try to get technical information vs. some insanely inflated price.
  • by snarkh (118018) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:18PM (#8153214)
    Noteably, this includes web searches, which is really just a problem in graph theory.

    Not at all. The graph theory is important, of course, but web searches involve the following:

    1. You have to find the right metric in which to measure the success of your search. The metric is determined by what people want to find. The graph theory is a way to formalize whatever intuition you might have about it.

    2. You have to be able to find the results and to deliver them quickly. That's a complex implementation problem.

    Graph theorey is no more than a small part of what's involved.

  • by dattaway (3088) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:22PM (#8153234) Homepage Journal
    Even better: if you do that in images search, you can also set your preferences to the size of images to be displayed under "advanced." Set to wallpaper sized. You are guaranteed to get results from the latest digital cameras.

    Put the following line in the images search and sit back:

    "index of /" boobies filetype:jpg
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:23PM (#8153249) Homepage
    Yeah, but MSN only shows 32 results for SCO.
    Google shows 3.8 million. (if the site stays down, how long until they're delisted?)

    Searching google for MSN yields 44.8 million.
    Searching google for google yields 41.7 million (this page among them)

    Searching msn for msn yields 3,389
    Searching msn for google yields 102, which, ironically, is listed as an "MSN Top Pick"

    Fair? Maybe. Maybe not. It just seems that MSN's crawler hasn't mapped nearly as much of the web as Google's has, but has managed to map most stuff pertaining to itself (which it should).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:24PM (#8153256)
    Have no fear [www.goat.cx]!
  • by dickiedoodles (728410) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:34PM (#8153326)
    Tie their engine to their OS, and why would the masses go out to the web to search anymore? They could just do it from the desktop.

    google deskbar [google.com] already does this
  • by Marco Krohn (254334) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#8153348)
    1. copy link location (here: "http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/ and so on...")
    2. google search for the URL: search for "http:// and so on"
    3. ignore that you got no search results and click on the link below "If the URL is valid, try visiting that web page by clicking on the following link: " (and yes, it is the same link!)
    4. enjoy reading :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:41PM (#8153366)
    There are two problems:

    1. You have broadband to download Mozilla, people who have dial-up will never be able to get it. If you don't have an ISP at all, IE comes installed out of the box.

    2. You know how, where, and why to use Mozilla. Manny users can only install virii that comes attached to email on their systems.

    Don't be a fool! Monopoly is an almost unbeatable advantage.
  • by nsingapu (658028) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:55PM (#8153480) Homepage
    Idealogically, a boycot against MSN is a fnatastic idea, the problem is that from a marketing perspective (for commercial sites) its suicide.

    Each free click a site receives is invaluable, to the point that a whole industry is built upon manipulating search results (generally those of google, because thats where the vast majority of traffic comes from) in favor of bettering the positioning of their clients. Try googling for "seo","search enging optimization","search engine placement" and the like and you will notice the sheer number of results speak for themselves.

    Ironically enough, results provided via this industry often cost more and perform worse then google adwords (first because it takes some odd months for any results to show, and second because googles sorting algorithm change every month or two and maintaining good position takes constant manipulation), but the point is, that the top five results in any engine, be it google or msn, is money in the pocket. As such business entities will set idealology aside; disallowing msnbot is not a viable solution for any commercial entity.

  • by kramer2718 (598033) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:04PM (#8153576) Homepage
    The Coming Search Wars
    By JOHN MARKOFF

    Published: February 1, 2004

    PALO ALTO, Calif.

    AT the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last week, Microsoft, the software heavyweight, and Google, the scrappy Internet search company, eyed each other like wary prizefighters entering the ring.

    Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, stated his admiration for the "high level of I.Q." of Google's designers. "We took an approach that I now realize was wrong,'' he said of his company's earlier decision to ignore the search market. But, he added pointedly, "we will catch them.''

    The four top Google executives attending the forum, at the ski resort of Davos, were no less obsessed with Mr. Gates's every move. "We had many opportunities to see Bill and Microsoft here in Davos," Eric E. Schmidt, Google's chief executive, wrote in an e-mail message to a colleague that was distributed to employees through an internal company mailing list.

    Microsoft is intently poring over Google's portfolio of patents, hunting for potential vulnerabilities, Mr. Schmidt contended. And because Google is running its business using Linux - the free open source software that has become the biggest challenger of Windows - Microsoft is concerned that it may be at a competitive disadvantage. "Based on their visceral reactions to any discussions about 'open source,' '' Mr. Schmidt wrote in his e-mail message, "they are obsessed with open source as a business model.''

    Get ready for Microsoft vs. Silicon Valley, Round 2.

    The last time around, in the mid-1990's, Netscape Communications, another brash, high-tech start-up from the Bay Area, commercialized the Web browser, touching off the dot-com gold rush. The company told anyone who would listen that its newfangled software program would reduce Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system to a "slightly buggy set of device drivers.''

    As it turned out, Microsoft - based in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, far from Silicon Valley, the heart of the nation's technology industry - was listening.

    Mr. Gates, belatedly waking up to the threat that the Internet posed to his business, aimed Microsoft's firepower at Netscape and flattened his rival, which was later acquired by America Online and is now a shadow of its former self in an obscure corner of Time Warner.

    As a consequence, however, he brought a federal antitrust lawsuit down upon his company, raising the specter of a Microsoft breakup. In the end, Microsoft escaped with little more than a requirement that it operate under a relatively mild court-ordered consent decree.

    Today, nearly everyone in Silicon Valley, from venture capitalists and chip engineers to real estate agents and restaurateurs, has begun to ask: Will Google become the next Netscape?

    Mr. Gates, who for more than a decade has promised - but not yet delivered - "information at your fingertips" for his customers, has decided that the Internet search business is both a serious threat and a valuable opportunity.

    The co-founder and now the chief software architect of his company, Mr. Gates readily acknowledges these days that Microsoft "blew it" in the market for Internet search. Despite his early grand vision, he displayed little inclination to deploy software that would improve the ability of computer users to find information - until he saw the dollars in the business.

    THAT opportunity fell to two Stanford computer science graduate students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who disregarded the industry's common wisdom that search technology would become an inexpensive, marginal commodity.

    While the Internet's dominant companies fought one another over Web portals, the promise of e-commerce and access to providers like America Online, Google developed a speedy search engine that soon became almost a universal first step onto the Internet. It displaced earlier search engines because the technology invented by Mr. Brin and Mr. Page did a measurably better job in returning results that satis
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:25PM (#8153792)
    Altavista didn't have any portal crap, all they had was an email service. Web and image search and then a few tabs for audio, news and such.
  • by securitas (411694) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:47PM (#8154006) Homepage Journal


    There are some key items in the article summarized in my (rejected) post. They give a good indication of where the market is headed. They also highlight and give clues about some of the competitive challenges that Microsoft will face while trying to take Google's market share.

    2004-02-01 00:12:36
    The Coming Search Wars: Microsoft vs. Google (articles,internet)

    The New York Times [nytimes.com]' John Markoff reports on the coming Internet search engine wars between Microsoft and Google [nytimes.com]. Markoff draws parallels between Google and another mid-1990s upstart company: Netscape. The feature also provides some historical context on how Google filled a niche that the giants ignored while pursuing Web portals. A few story items stand out. (1) When Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] demonstrated its new search technology that will take on Google, former Digital Equipment Internet search pioneer 'Mike Burrows ... who later helped design Microsoft's experimental search engine, quietly defected' to Google. (2) Further, 'Google has been quietly developing what industry experts consider to be the world's largest computing facility' with over 100,000 computers in at least a dozen data centers around the world. (3) Finally, 'Microsoft is concerned that it may be at a competitive disadvantage' due to Google's use of Linux and open source technologies, according to an internal e-mail from Google CEO Eric Schmidt who describes Microsoft as 'obsessed with open source as a business model.' Not bad for a company that had negligible revenue in 2001 and now has $1 billion in annual sales and a $350 million profit.

  • by S.Lemmon (147743) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:51PM (#8154041) Homepage
    Think not? [archive.org] Just take a look at their history [archive.org]. They stared very simple, sure, but each year the search gets smaller and smaller while the crap gets deeper and deeper. "Portal mode" peaks around 2000 and starts back down as they try to win back some of the Google converts.
  • by lysium (644252) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:06PM (#8155433)
    And most average computer users care nothing for the distinction between "portal" and "search engine." If the MSN search page comes up first, by default, then most people will use it without question. Google's superiority only matters to the knowledgable and discriminating.

    From my own personal survey, 500+ users have proven me right, with only a half-dozen bothering to use Google. That does not bode well for the future.

    ========

  • by muleboy (123760) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:23PM (#8155527)
    I think the herd mentality can often lead to good choices. I wouldn't say optimal, look at Mozilla vs. IE. The problem is that companies are always throwing out as much disinformation as possible (aka advertising). As an example, a few years ago Google was a great source for product reviews; you could type in a product name and have 2 or 3 hits on the first page that would be good, factual reviews of products. Now you will see 70% junk because companies have figured out how to rig it.

    What I'm really looking forward to is a decent reputation-based opinions system that is open-standards. There has to be a new kind of moderation system to weed out the 99% of all things posted on the internet that are crap, like my post. Slashdot moderation system doesn't cut it. I hardly read Slashdot any more because most of the +5 posts are neither insightful, nor informative, although they are sometimes funny.

    I'm a libertarian at heart, so I understand where you're coming from. At the same time, I'm really disappointed with the free market's failure at developing an information-filtering system like I described that is worth anything. I imagine the solution will probably come from some government-funded grad student working for almost nothing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @12:22AM (#8156145)
    As an example of a place where google has room for improvment, some sleazy online pharmacies have been distressingly effective at keeping themselves at the top of google searches for information about prescription drugs. For example, try typing "prozac suicide" into google and see what comes up.
  • Google Calculator (Score:2, Informative)

    by chendo (678767) on Monday February 02, 2004 @02:03AM (#8156545)
    I believe Google Calculator [google.com] is one of the more useful obscured features of Google.

    You can enter anything maths (like 2(5 * 30) ^ 2 [google.com] or whatever), conversions (20 feet to in [google.com], etc), has constants predefined (pi [google.com], e [google.com], speed of light [google.com], mach [google.com], etc), and even does binary, hexidecimal, octal, and roman numerals (convert 1354 to binary [google.com], convert 0b11001 to roman [google.com]), and more.

    Has to be one of the most useful tools ever :)

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