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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 Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:32PM (#8152850) Homepage
    Could do with some competition, Internet getting very dull
  • Its about defaults (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrumney (197329) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152867) Homepage
    Sure, anyone can type google.com into their browser, but for the 90% of the population who don't understand how the web works, pressing the Search button on their browser is the only option. The fact that Microsoft's search is getting better doesn't change anything though, as search.msn.com is already the IE default, and those people will be using that.
  • by j_sp_r (656354) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152868) Homepage
    O'course MS can force users to use msn search this time just they did with IE. BTW, they already doing this. When you make a typo in a url (or the site is just slow to respond) you go to MSN search (with standard settings). Jou Beginner just thinks you search the internet only with MSN search and keeps using it. And if MS is really lame they block google in IE or render it incorrectly (only the goverment in the way for that)
  • But.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TypoNAM (695420) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152869)
    Google doesn't require me to run Windows and use IE to use their search engine. :)
  • Whatever. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#8152877) Homepage
    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."

    Since when do you have to d/l special software to use MSN search? The only challenge here is building the engine. Getting people to switch is not a problem for Microsoft's marketing department.

  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#8152878) Homepage
    Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy.

    Well, if it's anything like Microsoft's previous attempts at dominating a market, it may prove atrociously easy for them. As another article on The Economist (linked here just a day or two ago) stated, Microsoft can easily leverage their Windows marketshare to take over the Search market.

    As the article said, 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, citing it's popularity and need to be a core part of the OS. They did it with IE, and they can certainly do it with searching as well. 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.
  • it will be easy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:37PM (#8152884)
    All MS has to do is hard code in the next IE fixpacks a simple check to see if the URL is Google and do all kinds of bad things to the request, claim it was a "bug" but then not get around to fixing it for a couple of years.
  • by Larry David (738420) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:37PM (#8152885)
    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.

    This rather sarcastic remark somewhat misses the point. Not everyone is running Mozilla or a non-Microsoft OS. MS leapfrogged Netscape primarily because IE was 'good enough' (IE4 versus Netscape 4 was pretty even), it was quicker to load (thanks to MS integrating it into the OS), and because MS made it the default for everything.

    Microsoft only has to make their new search 'good enough', and integrate it with Internet Explorer (or even as toolbars in other apps, like the Office suite), and Joe Public will use it just to make life simple.
  • by RoadkillBunny (662203) <roadkillbunny@msn.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#8152890)
    When it was Netscape vs Microsoft, M$ could create it's properiaty standards and make bugs in Windows that could crash it and make it look like Netscape's fault. This is using their popularity to the advantage. But with google, they can't use the popularity. All they can do that I can think of is to make IE not allow the user to go to google.com and show some kind of 404 Error. Help me out here, but wouldn't be this kind of illegal?
  • Trust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jole (4348) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#8152892) Homepage
    What really matters in search engines are trust, relevance, speed and features. In other categories competition might be strong, but it is hard to see that Microsoft-branded search engine could easily be as trusted as google in near future.

    My prediction is that Google will win hands down.
  • Google's advantage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:40PM (#8152910)
    Microsoft will undoubtedly make their own search engine the default when the browser loads, or will integrate it with their msn.com portal page, but even if they do this, they still have typically created pages that are slow to load and so full of stuff as to make them difficult to use. Google has always had a clean interface and massively quick load times. This helps.

    Google is a household word. It's also becoming accepted as a slang verb (to google for something), and has a reputation of delivering good results. Teachers like it, and their students are encouraged to use it. Professionals like it because it's quick. This also helps.

    If Microsoft attempts to sabotage or hijack connections to google to redirect to MSN search via Internet Explorer, Google can cry foul to the courts (because Microsoft was ruled a monopoly) and get that removed, or possibly even get Microsoft barred from putting their own search engine in by default. This could prove interesting.
  • by the.jedi (212166) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:41PM (#8152918) Homepage
    The fact that Microsoft's search is getting better doesn't change anything though, as search.msn.com is already the IE default

    I think it does matter. Right now people get fed up with the crappy results from msn and they're friends tell them "oh why don't you google it?" Tada! Another convert. If MSN can catch up with Google in terms of good search results then people will then quit looking for alternatives to the search button and Google will die. Once goole dies of course Microsoft has no reason to innovate and will let development die just as they've done with IE, outlook express and others. It's kinda sad really.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:41PM (#8152919)
    There's unlikely to be significant progress. Centralized information retrieval has run its course. We haven't seen anything really new in a while. Improvements will come from distributed/peer-to-peer/grid IR.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andih8u (639841) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:43PM (#8152948)
    Aside from this all being hashed over yesterday, people will generally use whichever search engine is better. Yahoo once had market dominance until Google proved to be a far better search engine. Microsoft will achieve dominance if they provide beter search results than Google. There's not many ways to sneakily force people to use your search engine, aside from defaulting the search button to your own search engine, which MS does already anyway.
  • by Adolph_Hitler (713286) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:45PM (#8152975)
    In Longhorn, they will just include their search engine as part of the OS itself, no need to ever type in www.google.com. Its all over.
  • MS is patient (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot (78781) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:45PM (#8152980) Homepage Journal
    Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy.

    Same remarks could have been said in the context of MS Word against Wordperfect or IE against Netscape, Excel against Lotus, etc. MS always by attrition and patient and they monoply position to wait it out. Also, MS is in a good position to dominate because the own the distribution channel.

  • uh oh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:47PM (#8153002)
    Be warned that this feature also turns up the illegal/nasty kind of porn also - even with generic porn searches. The authorities consider viewing these illegal images the same as downloading them.
  • by PickyH3D (680158) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:48PM (#8153013)
    It is in terms of things like the Google Toolbar.

    It's just a matter of time before the MSN toolbar is included by default with IE.

    That is how it similar to the Netscape wars. Search is going clientside and they want it specialized for YOUR needs. That's where the competition comes in.

  • by tealover (187148) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:49PM (#8153015)
    Searching is still an evolving science. With all the google-bombing going on that manipulates search results, there remains a lot of work to be done. The key essence of searching is to either

    a) retrieve the most relevant information

    or

    b) retrieve the most popular information

    But the key is the user must never be confused as to which heuristic was used to return his/her results. This isn't happening right now.

    Google is a star at the moment but so was Altavista and so were a couple other search engines. It is not inconceivable that Google can be displaced.
  • by Davak (526912) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:50PM (#8153022) Homepage
    Google has indexed the internet. That data is ultimately more powerful than having software installed on the majority of desktops.

    Google has already flexed this muscle with their text ads. By being able to rapidly spider a page, google can provide very directed and specific ads. These ads are successful because they are so focused to their assoicated page.

    Without radically changing the way we view the web... Microsoft can not touch that aspect of google... yet.

    Davak
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:50PM (#8153024) Journal
    Google executives also say they believe that Microsoft is systematically pursuing Web sites downgraded by Google, which punishes companies for trying to manipulate their rankings. The company is striking partnerships with unhappy Google customers.

    I just got to wonder what this will do for the quality of results I see in the Microsoft product. What will it get, nothing but spammers as a result?

    I mean, think about...

    ;)

  • Money (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kaden (535652) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:51PM (#8153028)
    What Microsoft has going for it is money. Google has lots of good ideas, but running that many searches is very expensive in bandwidth and hardware. Google might just have a hard time ever making a profit. Microsoft has a hard time not making a profit. Google can't just slap 'new version!' on a flagship product, and have people line up at the malls all over America to spend $400 on it.
    So I'm thinking the superior product could lose out to the more profitable one. Wouldn't be the first time it happened.
  • by ravendeath (626771) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:52PM (#8153038)
    But the fact is, that people are downloading the special software: the google bar is one of googles most successful products, and this must be making Microsoft go crazy, considering their MSN sites have been unleashing pop-up ads on their unsuspecting users for years now. Netscape lost to Microsoft because they (arguably) had what turned out to be an inferior product. Microsoft will lose to google for the exact same reason.
  • by Oliver Defacszio (550941) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:54PM (#8153049)
    So, without any evidence, you've proclaimed Google the winner for all eternity because you like them? I need some extra money -- which jersey of the SuperBowl teams do you prefer?

    If you don't like Microsoft, fine, but to call them "no competition" is brutally ridiculous. Microsoft is competition in any area they wish to persue, because although their actual product is not always the best in its class, their ability to sell it is above anyone else out there. Plus, in the "real world" outside Slashdot, the name alone will garner a ton of interest as they delve into the search biz.

    As much as everyone likes to abuse the term "monopoly" in regards to Microsoft, they never would have been in a position to abuse power if not for some pretty impressive corporate skills in several areas. If Google ignores that and thinks like you, it's at their own peril.

  • by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:56PM (#8153064) Journal
    I always thought that the key to Google's success was: honesty, objectivity, staying uninvolved. And of course accuracy.

    The will to stay away from (at first glance) very lucrative ``search result position'' market, and clear distinction between search result and sponsored (unintrusive) links also helped Google entrench in its position.

    Now take any word from the above paragraphs and try to put it in one sentence with Microsoft.

    If you don't know what I mean, go to search.msn.com and type linux.

    (What's noteworthy is that (in contrary to results from couple of months ago) it no longer returns any ``get rid of linux, install windows'' links to MSDN)

    In short, MS would have to do something very unmicrosoftish -- actually give users good value for their money, and behave in a very honest, civilized way.

    Where's the money in that? ;)

    Robert
  • by Mr Pippin (659094) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:57PM (#8153076)

    I think you're on the right track. The issue is more likely to be that IE will integrate a search function much like Apple's Safari, but instead of linking to Google, it will link to their own site.

    Then they just have to count on the laziness of the 90% of users to make them the default over Google.

    Your follow on argument would be that they will still use google, since google has the results they want.

    Again, Microsoft only has to emulate Google until they have the majority search engine. At that point, they can modify their search engine to return whatever they want.

    It's just another version of "embrace, extend, extinguish".

  • by JPriest (547211) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:04PM (#8153118) Homepage
    Microsoft would have to do more than design an efficient search algorithm to beat Google. MSN is a portal, not a search engine. In order to make the portal a better search engine than Google, they would have to first stop being a portal.
  • by blkros (304521) <blkros AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:05PM (#8153128)
    I'd heard something about that for the next release of windows. So file searching and internet searching will be simple, don't even need to open a browser.
  • Same as before... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by christophe (36267) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:06PM (#8153140) Journal
    MSN search is included in Internet Explorer for years, but Google was always used by people able to change the homepage. Why ? Loads quickly (not so important in broadband times), very easy (almost nothing on screen on the first page - this is important!), good results (better than MSN that does not give my homepage when I type my name, only pages that link to it?!?). Why should it change?

    MSN must fight a competitor which:
    - has a good reputation
    - is well established
    - can't be blocked at the user's computer (can't change the rendering of such a simple page without breaking millions of other sites; Google would adapt quickly; can't firewall its URL on all Windows computers without a PR disaster and problems with a court),
    - does not want to be bought,
    - does not interact directly with Windows or Office, hence can't be blocked by playing with incompatible standards,
    - could probably strike back if attacked with patents.

    This is typical from MS: they want to stay alone on the market. MS does not understand the notion of a free market with different players (do not forget Yahoo and many others).
  • by Narcissus (310552) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:09PM (#8153160) Homepage
    I think the easiest way to tell when Microsoft might be close is the day that the MSDN search feature provided by Microsoft is more accurate than using Google with site:msdn.microsoft.com .

    If Microsoft can't make a search engine that works on a known set of like data to produce better results than a search engine that uses a "generic" search function, then they have problems.
  • by S.Lemmon (147743) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:12PM (#8153175) Homepage
    People seem to forget how Google became popular in the first place. It came out of nowhere to beat the likes of Altavista, Yahoo, and even Microsoft's built in search.

    Why? While everyone else was busy making visitors suffer through "portals" full of annoying crap, Google has a plain bare-bones interface that just did what you came for - search.

    I think that even more than it's accuracy was the reason it succeeded; and simple, clean interfaces that don't coat the user with cloying, butterfly-laden, happy, shiny GUI seems to be an anathema to Microsoft.
  • But then again, what is it that they want to accomplice? If it is to become the best searchengine, they have a lot off work to do..
    But if the main point is to keep people inside their MSN network things are much easier. Just put a search field on every page and there you go. If the results are oke'ish, most people will be satisfied and MS can put their commercials and such. After all if the MS monopoly has proven anything it is that barely good enough is more than enough for a lot of people..
  • by Ironica (124657) <[pixel] [at] [boondock.org]> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:13PM (#8153180) Journal
    The reaction of people like those found on Slashdot if Microsoft actually crafts a search engine that is demonstrably better than Google. Will people ignore that in favor of simple Microsoft bashing, or will they use it and acknowledge its superiority?

    There's a certain element of trust that goes into something like this. MSN's new search technology could spit back more relevant and comprehensive results, but there would still be suspicion that MS was (a) using the search info in ways we wouldn't approve of, and (b) shaping the results to suit their priorities.

    Since the search engine code will be proprietary, there's no way to prove otherwise, and many people will still be more inclined to use a company that they consider "safer."
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:13PM (#8153182)
    They own Inktomi (Microsof's search engine on MSN). They own FAST (aka AllTheWeb). They own AltaVista (translate a document lately?). They own Overture (biggest paid results provider).

    Yahoo also brings to bear a lot of traffic to any solution it picks on its own site, so watch Inktomi's star to rise again as it takes the 20% of traffic YAhoo was seding to Google.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:21PM (#8153229)
    The average user goes to Google because MSN Search sucks big time. If the default search engine for IE yielded better results, average users would not look anywhere else.

    Of course, Microsoft still has to come up with a good search algorithm and structure (I don't think they can use 10,000 Windows boxes in a cluster in a manageable way) and will have to resist flooding the search results with meaningless advertising. That will be their real battle. As much as I hate to admit it, they don't really have to be as good as Google, because they can leverage IE and Windows.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:27PM (#8153280)
    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) runs on Windows/Linux/etc.

    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) is being developed a lot faster than IE and now supercedes IE in all but the website compatibility issue.

    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) allows me to use the URL bar for search words and I can choose my preferred search engine.

    FACT: IE is Microsoft's product and as far as I'm concerned, they can now do what they like with it.

    FACT: For the forseeable future, I can still choose my preferred search engine.

    So what's the problem?

  • by RomSteady (533144) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:29PM (#8153290) Homepage Journal
    ...that Microsoft's goal isn't to control searching the Internet but to control searching the Intranet?

    Think about it. Microsoft's bread and butter is servers and workstations. Whenever Microsoft releases something to make it easier to get information from the servers to the workstations, it ends up making them money.

    By allowing centralized "search servers" to extract data from the WinFS metadata store, a single add-on product for the Windows Server System can alow a user at his desk using Windows "Longhorn" to do a search and not only find out where the data is that he needs, but who has it, who created it, who has been working on it, etc.

    If you think of the quantity of data in the WinFS metadata store on any individual resource as the "PageRank," you might see where Microsoft is REALLY going with this.

    As for Internet search, it's just a bonus. Basically, if they get the Internet search working first, they can test and tune their algorithms using the Internet's userbase as a large testbed and possibly a small profit center.
  • by ealar dlanvuli (523604) <froggie6@mchsi.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:49PM (#8153423) Homepage
    And then they will stagnate the instant google is killed.

    See: IE.
  • by Epistax (544591) <epistax AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:51PM (#8153439) Journal
    The only way Google will lose is if they do it to themselves. Now that they are supposed to be making an increasing amount of money every quarter (ie, impossible money) they will be pressured to do everything possible to gain money. Watch weird subscription services appear at first. Once no one buys into them expect more aggressive advertising. This will be their undoing.

    I don't see why people have problems with self-suffecient companies. That is, make enough money to continue doing what you're doing and enough research to continue in the future. They are being measured too much by gains rather than gross. If Google stays at say, 70% of web searches for ten years, that would be amazing. Far more amazing than going up to 99% then failing.
  • by refactored (260886) <{zn.oc.tenx} {ta} {tneyc}> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:00PM (#8153525) Homepage Journal
    Have a look at the Google [google.com] home page and look at www.msn.com [msn.com]

    One is clean, simple.

    The other is packed, messy, covered in ad's, and preformatted for 800x600.

  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#8153554) Homepage Journal
    "People" (read: investors) have a problem with what you call self-sufficient companies because they don't make any money out of that. Googles investors didn't exactly get into the game in order to set up a company to do search well - they put up the money to get a high return on their investment. When you take investments from people, they will naturally expect to make money back.
  • My Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nathanh (1214) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:03PM (#8153564) Homepage

    Windows 2006 will have "integrated" Internet search functionality. This will be pervasive throughout the help system, the file explorer, the Internet explorer, etc. However it will always use Microsoft's search engine.

    2 years later, the FTC will notice and declare this is a violation of the 1994 Consent Decree. They will pass it on to the DOJ who will fuck around for 5 years and do absolutely goddamn nothing.

    Microsoft will argue that they can't use any other search engine because of some inane reason. This will be despite massive amounts of evidence brought forth by search engine experts, and a patch floating around the Internet to use Google instead of Microsoft's search engine.

    Bill Gates will go on a brainwashing campaign to convince the American Public (god bless their little hearts) that this is all about innovation! That Microsoft should be allowed to innovate in a patriotic demonstration of truth, liberty, and the American way. Millions of Microsoft cheerleaders will rally around Microsoft, saying that Google sucks and the Microsoft's search engine is clearly superior and that it's entirely unfair for the government to be outlawing innovation!

    In 2013 Microsoft will be found guilty of violating the 1994 Consent Decree. As punishment they will be told not to do it again. Which they'll promise to do. Just like they promised the last two times.

    By then it will be too late. Google will be dead.

    Forgive my cynicism... but I've seen this all before!

  • by kasperd (592156) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:18PM (#8153717) Homepage Journal
    Would Microsoft be so low as to "embellish" the robots.txt file hosted on IIS sites so as to include a line forbidding the GoogleBot?

    I think we would have another antitrust case if Microsoft did so. Sure it would take years in court, but I think Google might decide to ignore the robots.txt file if they really believe it was illegal and a threat to Google. People picking side and creating robots.txt file probably isn't illegal, at least we are not facing an antitrust case there. Well, since Microsofts crawler haven't really found anything of interest on my site, and Google have already crawled most of it, I don't think there is yet any point in trying to give Google and advantage. They already have the advantage they need. Anyway how would things turn out if people starting placing this robots.txt on various webservers:
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /default.ida

    User-agent: msnbot
    Disallow: /
  • by x0n (120596) <oising@[ ].ie ['iol' in gap]> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:19PM (#8153731) Homepage Journal
    Well, one thing stands out fairly obviously: Netscape vs. Microsoft was a battle of "steadily getting worse" versus "steadily getting better" software respectively. Moz 0.9 was a dozen times better than v4.7, if you ask me. IE6 may now be bloatware, but netscape 4 was just plain terrible. Nothing worked, everything was hacked into a giant monolithic C program hacked together by undisciplined students.

    OTOH, Google is already a nice piece of kit and Microsoft have nothing comparable, as yet.

    - Oisin
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:28PM (#8153823) Homepage Journal
    This isn't just about technology, folks.

    Microsoft has a monopoly to leverage, to be sure. But their history shows that in general Microsoft doesn't make many business mistakes. They instead wait for their competition (like Netscape - a company that practically handed the lead to Microsoft on a silver platter) to shoot themselves in the foot. Every time they've faced a competitor that's in truly top form, Microsoft hasn't won.

    Intuit has held off against repeated attacks from Microsoft.

    The PlayStation hasn't been demolished by the XBox.

    Microsoft hasn't even bothered trying to take on Adobe.

    Oracle is not being destroyed by Microsoft.

    In all of these cases, aggressive, competent companies have held off attacks from Microsoft by minimizing their mistakes and playing against Microsoft's weaknesses.

    Google is not just about smart technology. This is a company that figured out how to make money with search. Remember back in the late 90s, when all of the kingpins of search decided that portals were the way to go? They were all wrong. Google, the late entrant, actually had it right and stuck to their core competency.

    Microsoft faces a tough competitor in Google - one that's not likely to make the same kind of mistakes its predecessors did.

  • by agwis (690872) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:30PM (#8153849)
    MS pulled some damn dirty tricks out of their repertoire to win over users from Netscape because they couldn't win them over on quality...like some posters have suggested.

    -MS couldn't compete with Netscape so they completely gave their browser away, free to use both personally and commercially. At the time, Netscape allowed free personal usage but required commercial usage to be licensed. (Free is always good, but in this case MS did it with the sole intent to squash competition. They had the revenue from their OS and a big bank account of course, while Netscape was a newcomer with only 1 product that was generating revenue from commercial licenses.)

    -MS threatened the likes of Compaq (and others) by yanking their Windows license if they bundled Netscape into computers they were selling. Obviously, IE shipped with Windows but vendors weren't allowed to include Netscape. (Good way to stifle competition IMHO).

    -MS integrated IE into the OS so it would load quicker and appear faster than Netscape.

    -MS delayed API's to Netscape repeatedly.

    Those were the big factors in sinking Netscape but none of them apply to Google. I know many people that can barely get around on a computer but if they want to search for something they use Google. It's so widely used that no one even blinks anymore if you tell them to "just google for it".

    I think it's too late for MS to try and outpace Google. To compare MS vs Google to MS vs Netscape is unfair to say the least. Google doesn't need to be installed on the OS, it's free to use, and is so well known that it's name is a universally accepted word analogous to search.

    -Pat
  • by Frymaster (171343) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:31PM (#8153854) Homepage Journal
    from a marketing perspective (for commercial sites) its suicide.

    i totally agree. i think the point of the boycott is to reduce the breadth of the msn search results - not eliminate all sites from the engine.

    breadth is important because it allows a search engine to say "x million sites indexed" - which to a lot of people is an indicator of a search engine's quality. additionally, breadth allows for better focusing of queries.

    so, if msn gets all the commercial sites but misses out on the blogs and hobby sites that don't require revenue... all the better for google.

  • by MO-411 (740370) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:35PM (#8153898) Journal
    The idea behind the web is publishing, The idea behind publishing is to have readers. Boycotting a search engine is, well, stupid, when one looks at the simple fact that one wants to have their published content read.

    Often times people miss the concept that is so bloody oblivious and yet they still manage to continue on...
    :-)

  • by fleener (140714) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:41PM (#8153952)
    > I doubt Microsoft will come up with anything more efficient that Google.

    What does efficiency or quality of service got to do with anything? This is America. It's not about the better product. It's about who wins.

    Google has no leverage over an operating system that is a gateway to its service. There are a million and one tricks that could be employed to cripple Google usage. So what if Google wins a court battle six months or a year (or longer) down the road? In the meantime, Google would sink. And you'd be assuming a lot about Google winning in court, given what we've seen the "Justice" department doing under the current administration.

  • by t0ny (590331) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:54PM (#8154064)
    Actaully, Ive pretty recently been starting to see limits to google. Now, dont get me wrong, its still a big improvement over the old crap like yahoo or webcrawler (for a really old-school example), but as more and more content appears, it gets harder and harder to get relevant results.

    searches could do better at exclusions, as well as sticking to one language (even telling it English-only on advanced searches doesnt always help). Also, it seems like simple, yet specific, things which should yield many results dont produce results.

    There is much room for improvement, but both Google and Microsoft have pretty smart people working for them. Competition is the best way to get those guys to work even harder, by trying to outdo each other.

    One of the nice things about MS is that any improvements they come up with will eventually find their way into other products, like SQL (or even a future version of Windows). Anything Google learns only benefits Google.

  • by malakai (136531) * on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:09PM (#8154159) Journal
    Lets beat-up on Japanese import cars because they function better and are cheaper than our domestic breed. Lets hold rallies where we use basball bats on Toyotas. Lets boycott them, tax them, tariff them, and do whatever it takes to make sure our incumbent manufactures have the upper hand.

    Yeah, that'll work. That'll get us what we want.

    Thank god you people are a minority. If MS wants to build a rival search engine, and hook it up to _THEIR_ operating system, good for them. If they both delivered the same quality of searches, and had the same ease of use, then the market will simply kill the one that is less efficent in meeting those metrics. This is how we evolve.

    You think Netscape died because of MS properietary hooks and IE/win9x/win2k pre-installed? Hell no, their code sucked. Their app sucked. IE came along early on and was orders of magnitude faster. I remember those early days, when the first IE browser came out, it simply 'felt' more professional. The Netscape client felt hackish and slow. Programming for both had it's in's and outs, but Netscape quirks were the most annoying. IE4 was a major milestone, NS4 was simply broke.

    Redmond _does_ innovate. research.microsoft.com [microsoft.com] is full of innovation. You can bitch that they 'stole' all their scientist from other research groups, or universities, but whats the point? If MS pays them more money and they enjoy the MS Research environment moreso than their previous environments, then MS is doing all of us a favor. They are encourging and supporting bright minds to make our life and our work easier.

    I'd like to see them really take a shot at searching. Both on the collection side, the analysis side, and the User Interface side. All aspects of the process can benefit from cuttin-edge technology floating around the MS Research centers.

    Who in their right mind other than a luddite would not want to see new innovation vieing for market share in something as essential as Search services? Are you saying your simply happy with the status quo of Google? Well good thing Sergey, Larry, and Craig didn't think that when they were getting donated machines and cash from Intel, DEC, SUN, NSF, NASA and DARPA to create their searching technology.

    We need innovation, and if you want it to come at it's optimum and most efficent pace, you must have competition driving it.

    Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.

    - Ayn Rand "For The New Intellectual," For The New Intellectual

  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:53PM (#8154408) Homepage
    MSN is a portal, not a search engine.

    And Google is not? Froogle, Google News, Google Images, Google Translation... Google is a portal just as much as MSN, you seem to be ignoring this simply because Google has "cleaner lines" on their web site.

  • by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @08:25PM (#8154579)
    But then again, what is it that they want to accomplice? If it is to become the best searchengine, they have a lot off work to do.. But if the main point is to keep people inside their MSN network things are much easier. Just put a search field on every page and there you go. If the results are oke'ish, most people will be satisfied and MS can put their commercials and such. After all if the MS monopoly has proven anything it is that barely good enough is more than enough for a lot of people..

    Precisely. Microsoft doesn't have to be the best search engine to beat google - it just has to convince people that it's "good enough" and that it's easy to use.

    Think about it. People use IE not because it's a better browser, but because that's what comes up when they click on the "Browse the Web" desktop icon. They are too lazy, too uninformed, or simply lack the technical skills required to download and install netscape or mozilla. In other words, using any other browser besides IE has become a chore - you have to download it, install it, configure it, and learn how to use it.

    If Microsoft makes typing in "www.google.com" a chore, no one will use it and M$ will have won. All they have to do is use some strategy in placing their search links. Put a search link on every Microsoft web page. Put one on the taskbar in Windows. Put one on the start menu. Put one on the IE menu, and lastly, redirect all entires in the URL bar to MSN search if it isn't a valid URL.

    They don't have to be best, they have to be easiest and be "just good enough".
  • by muleboy (123760) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @08:32PM (#8154631)
    Most of the people I know who once used Netscape and now use IE changed because IE was default on their desktop. My personal experience is that for nontechnical users, the quality of the application doesn't matter that much, it's the ease of use, and especially ease of install. Otherwise, everyone would be switching over to Mozilla at this point, because it is clearly superior to IE. If you know the market share of AOL, and have ever used AOL, you will understand what I'm talking about.

    The problem with the pure-market philosophy, is that it requires good knowledge of products and services to work. That isn't realistic when the average person knows very little about the things they are buying and using.
  • by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @09:01PM (#8154812) Homepage

    I like Google fine, but if we want to retain freedom to use our computers to do what we like, we need a system for searching that doesn't rely on a single source. The algorithms are for the most part public; someone needs to make a peer-to-peer search engine.

    I don't have the expertise; do you?

  • Cleaner lines (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhantin (252660) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:25PM (#8155256)
    mean quicker loading pages, less time spent hunting around for that obscure link in the corner of the page buried under a floating Flash ad, and a non-sellout image.
  • by bonhomme_de_neige (711691) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @11:47PM (#8155654) Homepage
    You think Netscape died because of MS properietary hooks and IE/win9x/win2k pre-installed? Hell no, their code sucked. Their app sucked. IE came along early on and was orders of magnitude faster.

    You clearly never used IE 1.0. I did ... or tried to (at that point Netscape was up to about 1.4). Anyway, at the time my ISP required mandatory proxies to be used, and IE had no proxy support. But it did load faster. Notepad loads faster than Netscape too. Always has, always will. Unofortunately it doesn't let you browse the web, and neither did the first few versions of IE.

    The only argument I heard for IE at the time everyone was switching was "it loads instantly" ... but that was due to preloading during boot (by making it the system shell) rather than by any sort of superior code. They didn't care. For a long time it was a vastly inferior browser .. but it was there, and it did the job well enough (barely) that most people just stuck with it.

    As for your rant about the free market, the real market is far from free, and deliberately kept that way. Your (US) government used to think the same way you do back in the 20s, and that's what led to the first Wall Street crash and the Great Depression. If left unchecked the free market tends to converge to just a bunch of monopolies in many industries .. it's been proven many times over that monopolies are bad, and this is what we're seeing here. It's not the "free" market in action, it's MS further tending towards its monopolistic state by grinding out competition. I for one would rather they didn't get there, but that's just me.

  • by malakai (136531) * on Monday February 02, 2004 @12:34AM (#8155916) Journal
    I did use IE 1.0 and 2.0. And I enjoyed that they loaded faster. And yes, they did so because they shared so much in common with the windows shell (explorer.exe, specifically). In my mind, as a developer, it was a good use of code reuse.

    But, 1.0, and 2.0 were still basically rehashes and recompiles of Mosaic. When IE 3.0 came out which was built on new code, the competition truly gave use better technology. IE 4 was simply icing on the cake.

    As for your rant about the free market, the real market is far from free, and deliberately kept that way. Your (US) government used to think the same way you do back in the 20s, and that's what led to the first Wall Street crash and the Great Depression.


    That's simply not true. The monopolies of the early 1900s were government subsidized. They were not free-market based. The gov't, through land grants, created a false economy for Rail Road companies (as just one industry example). I've yet to see a truly free economy, mainly because liberals seem preprogrammed at birth to screw it up, and put their hand into the system.

    I don't think the US is a perfect model by any degree of a hands-off economy. Look at the steel tariffs we used when we were getting our asses handed to us in steel production (production was cheaper, _and_ the steel had to be shipped to the US, that's cheap).

    Monopolies are _bad_. But the only Monopolies I've seen recently are government supported(Original AT&T), or occurred due to collusion among disparate companies (Music CD Prices).

    Microsoft's very success in it's operating system line has laid the groundwork for it's position to eventually be overtaken. Their is such a value in having the 'Next Windows OS' replacement that venture funding will always roll the dice. The potential profit drives companies to constantly assail what some think as 'monopolistic' positions held by MS. If anything, Linux and the spread of it should show once and for all that Microsoft is _not_ a monopoly, and they do not exclusively control the operating system market.

    Have MS collude with AMD or Intel, and a hard drive manufacture, and then come to me and say you believe they are part of a monopoly. Come to me when you buy a PC and can't put any other operating system on it (and that is _not_ palladium, so don't go there).

    Until then, you simply feel you know better than everyone else that purchases MS software. You say Microsoft ground out their competition, but you hold it in such an ugly light because you fail to realize how much personel intrest you've put into anything not Microsoft. Microsoft can never fairly beat a competitor in your eyes. You will always rationalize that even a (in your eyes) superior product that fails to dislodge Microsoft fails not on the grounds it didn't fit the market, but instead on the grounds that MS somehow manipulated the market. Or you fall back on the position long held in the slashdot crowd, that the 'buyers' of the software are stupid, and simply don't know any better. And that is the key to why new software often fails to beat out MS software. MS doesnt think the business user is stupid. They simply think they are different, and market towards it. As long as they have that evolutionary trait, their products will continue to win out.

    What can you bring to the game? Can you beat the current evolutionary alpha-male? What is their weakness? What is yours....

    -malakai
  • by erioshi (671381) on Monday February 02, 2004 @01:05AM (#8156064)


    MS has already won; every copy of I.E. 5.5 and 6.0 use Microsoft's search by default. Even finding were to reset your search preferences is a challenge.


    As proof of how effective this tactic is, I'd like to offer that a number of my co-workers (knowledge workers, but not particularly computer literate) Just assume that the IE search returns the best set of results for thier needs. Several of them never even try other search engines any more.

  • by The Snowman (116231) * on Monday February 02, 2004 @01:39AM (#8156219) Homepage

    You can actually change that setting to search at a number of different search engines, one of which is google, but because of mixed systems between the IE search and the autosearch and the system search, it's hard to find.

    That's not the point. The point is that "most users" won't know how or care about changing that option.

  • by Killswitch1968 (735908) on Monday February 02, 2004 @02:19AM (#8156397)
    "Microsoft faces a tough competitor in Google - one that's not likely to make the same kind of mistakes its predecessors did."

    Ahh someone who gets it. Most of the competetion that have come and gone were ousted because Microsoft legitimately had a better product for their end users (read: not nerds). People liked the simplicty and the GUIs, and could care less about security holes. It happened to Netscape.

    Google is going to be just fine. As long as they don't make the infamous 'monopoly' excuse and stick to making a good search engine they will are going to succeed. Monopoly has nothing to do with market share and everything to do with the number of alternatives. And Google is one tough alternative.
  • by abigor (540274) on Monday February 02, 2004 @02:35AM (#8156465)
    Please name one thing produced by MS Research that has made it to market. Just one thing.

    That division of MS is just a buzzword, a cool term to throw around to make MS seem all serious and brainy. Oh, and "innovative". How I cringe when I see that word now.

    Let me guess: you are not a technical person.

    And Ayn Rand's "philosophy" has about as much credibility as L. Ron Hubbard's religion.
  • by yason (249474) on Monday February 02, 2004 @02:35AM (#8156469) Journal

    There is one similarity to the NS vs. IE battle. Back in those days, you'd have to go download Netscape whereas IE was quite soon not only free to download but force-fed along with Windows. That lead to people who didn't even understand the concept of a browser application, as IE \equal WWW for them -- which put NS to a quite unfair position.

    With search engines, people still have to go to google.com. Getting a googlebar installed requires finding, downloading and installing it. When Microsoft adds a large "SEARCH INTERNET" button on the Windows desktop (in their next service pack or Windows Next), people don't even need to fire up IE to click the "SEARCH" button on its toolbar, not to mention go to a URL in order to make a web search. (I'm not familiar with the current Windows desktop, they might already have something like this.)

    Many people will still find Google. Also, the 10KB Google frontpage is much less to download than the 10MB Netscape binary. However, there is an alarmingly high number of people who might once again lose the concept of a web-based search engine and go for "Internet Search" instead. Then again, it'll be hard for Google search engine and MSN search engine to compete, as people won't, by default, see or know of either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @05:25AM (#8156901)

    So, without any evidence, you've proclaimed Google the winner for all eternity because you like them?



    Isn't that most of the point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2004 @08:47AM (#8157492)
    Microsoft has a monopoly to leverage, to be sure. But their history shows that in general Microsoft doesn't make many business mistakes. They instead wait for their competition (like Netscape - a company that practically handed the lead to Microsoft on a silver platter) to shoot themselves in the foot. Every time they've faced a competitor that's in truly top form, Microsoft hasn't won.

    I believe you've missed the point with Microsoft. They do make mistakes. Lots of them. Early versions of Windows sucked. Pre-4 versions of MSIE sucked. MS-Bob. MSN. Pre-Windows versions of MS-Word. Windows on Alpha, MIPS. Xbox1 sucks as you mentioned, but I'll betya that X-Box 3 or 4 will be great, if MS has enough money to prop up its XBox business until then.

    The difference between Microsoft and most other companies (Sony and Oracle are probably big enough to defend themselves) is that Microsoft has the size and monopoly power to make mistakes again and again. YET keep recovering from them. This was a luxury that Netscape didn't have. Microsoft, simply by breathing down Netscape's neck, forced Netscape to move faster than was sensible. To take risks because there were no other choice. Netscape should have reimplemented Netscape 4 from scratch, but they couldn't afford a three year gap between releases.

    If Microsoft doesn't lose its monopoly status, Google will be dead. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day, Google will make a big mistake or lotsa little mistakes and Microsoft will be there to take advantage of the situation. In the meantime, Microsoft can continue to make mistakes, their search technology cross-subsided by their operating system and office suite profits.

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