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How Objective Is Microsoft's Search? 470

bot writes "There have been a number of stories on Microsoft trying to do a 'Netscape' on Google.. what would a world in which Microsoft provides search look like? A search for 'linux' on msn.com give amazon and ebay as the top two results, and a microsoft site promoting migration from Linux to Windows as the fourth listing. A search on MSN India is even more amusing -- the top result is a dead link, and the second one is Linuxsucks.com."
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How Objective Is Microsoft's Search?

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  • I think an MS search would look like any other kind of anal sex on the internet.
    • by gerf ( 532474 ) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:49PM (#6779409) Journal

      This might take a bit, but bear with me. On google.com, you can search for how many times a site is linked from another site. You use the command (e.g.) link:www.websitehere.com This search is very cool to discern how popular a site is. For example, google.com itself is linked almost a half million times. Yahoo, well over a million times.

      However, www.msn.com has a lot fewer than half million. Fewer than a thousand even! In fact, there are only 51 (yes, Fifty One) People in the world who link to www.msn.com. www.MSNBC fares even worse with 7 (SEVEN) links to it. Compare this to www.cnn.com with 74,000 links.

      What does this mean? Well, if you consider these links as votes (which they are... if you like a site, you link it from your website or blog), it means that no one likes MSN or MSNBC at all. But, i wonder, why do people still go to these sites? The only answer i can give is this: Monopolistic practice. If you have almost a complete monopoly on the desktop, and you link your website on every one, of course you'll get some people to go to it. Could this example be used in a court case? Possibly, i guess (IANAL, but my bro-in law is

      Do what you want with this info, i just thought the /. crowd would like to see this.

      • by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:26PM (#6779630) Homepage
        There's that, and the fact that Microsoft's search engine is the default page when IE tries to visit a broken link/dead site. Many people I know use MS's search engine simply because it's the default, and they don't realise there are far better alternatives out there. These same people are usually very pleased when I set up Google as the start page in their browsers ;-)
        • by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @07:07PM (#6779870)
          Google has become synonymous with internet searching. At all level of educational institutions you will learn about it and you will no doubt find it useful. Microsoft might be the default but its search results leave much to be desired.

          Google has captured the marked and has cornered it. It's interface and features are unbeatable. Only Google can beat Google. If they start plastering adds all over their site and their links become commercials then I'll certainly look for an alternative because it is no longer useful.
      • by WhiteBandit ( 185659 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:49PM (#6779776) Homepage
        Actually, I recently emailed google asking them this exact same question. The following is their response:

        Thank you for your note. Yes, we do offer this kind of search. To find the pages that link to any given URL (say www.stanford.edu , for instance) go to the Google advanced search page at http://www.google.com/advanced_search and do 'link' search. If you do not want to use our advanced page, you can perform a link search directly from the Google search box by typing
        link:Stanford.edu

        or

        link:www.Stanford.edu

        This link search, however, may not return a comprehensive set of results. The results show a sample of the links that point to a page, but this list is in no way indicative of the link structure utilized by Google to formulate a page's PageRank.

        To obtain a comprehensive list of the links that point to a page, perform a Google search on your URL. From the result page displayed, select the "Find the web pages that contain the term" link and Google will provide you with the web pages that mention the address.

        Regards,

        The Google Team
        • Results using this method:

          www.google.com - 638,000
          www.cnn.com - 624,000
          www.yahoo.com - 381,000
          www.msnbc.com - 199,000
          www.msn.com - 76,600
          www.searchking.com - 1,010

          Google still has significantly more than MSN. More than Yahoo, even.
      • Googles listing of links is the subject of much debate amoung webmasters, but it is well known that is doesnt list all the links. A simple query on marketleap.com turned up the following:

        Links to:
        www.msn.com
        alltheweb.com 2,792,044
        AltaVista 514,819
        google 51
        HotBot/Inktomi 338,827
        MSN 338,818

        I should also point out www.msn.com shows 72,100 pages that contain the term www.msn.com
  • News like this... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by rekkanoryo ( 676146 ) *
    makes me a firm believer in the fact that Microsoft is not objective in any way. Then again, neither is any company, but hey, it's Slashdot, where Microsoft bashing is almost a national pastime :)
  • by Surak ( 18578 ) * <surak AT mailblocks DOT com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:35PM (#6779029) Homepage Journal
    The top links are for 'featured sites' (~= 'ads') and 'sponsored sites' (~= 'ads') and after you get past the ads, the results are roughly similar to google's results [google.com], with linux.org and redhat.com being in the same #1 and #3 spots, and linuxjournal surpassing linux.com as the #2 spot.

    • by ceejayoz ( 567949 ) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:38PM (#6779049) Homepage Journal
      Wow... inaccuracies in an article on Slashdot that make MS look worse than it actually is?

      Sheesh, it's like the Twilight Zone! ;-)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:06PM (#6779226)
        Wow... inaccuracies in an article on Slashdot that make MS look worse than it actually is?

        If an MS article was posted WITHOUT an anti-Microsoft slant I'd probably start running through the streets for fear that the apocalypse is coming.

        Here's what happened, plain and simple. People are so eager to find something against Microsoft that they turned into typical "users" and didn't read. Now instead of admitting their typical "user" mistake of not READING they're trying to justify it by saying "most users will be fooled into thinking the ads were real results." Wait, you're telling me that a business is trying to get stupid people to click on ads through a little deception? Wtf is this world coming to. If you can't trust a business to not mislead you with ads, who can you trust?
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:39PM (#6779056)
      people that are still using MSN as their search engine might not know the difference and that's more of the point I believe.

      I guess that a massive majority of the general population knows to use google, but the fact that IE defaults to MSN (and much of that massive majority doesn't know how to stop it) is scary.

      Although Linux India pointing to linuxsucks.com is almost too funny.
      • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:20PM (#6779278)
        I guess that a massive majority of the general population knows to use google, but the fact that IE defaults to MSN (and much of that massive majority doesn't know how to stop it) is scary.

        It isn't straightforward- you have to do a bunch of registry edits to make IE automatically submit search requests to google.com instead of msn.com. (See here [logicalexpressions.com] for details on how to do this.)

        Some ISPs like to put banners in IE's title bar (e.g. "Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters - Brought to you by Verizon!") You can get rid of this (when you're finished cleaning the spyware off your non-computer-savvy relatives' computers, that is) by going to \HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main and deleting or editing a REG_SZ key there called "Window Title", which is usually put there by ISP software installations. Mine says "This is a necessary piece of the operating system!"

        Ironically, I find the only thing that makes IE usable at all for me is the current Google toolbar, which implements the popup-blocking that Microsoft neglected to include in their user-hostile browser. With no popup blocking, simple everyday computer tasks like surfing for porn are like walking in quicksand.

    • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:40PM (#6779060)
      linuxsucks.com pays for high msn search rankings?

      Wow, some people really DO have an axe to grind.
      • If you look at the links, a good portion of them are ad links. Even the link to buy Red Hat Linux runs through Commission Junction.

        If people visit and run through a bunch of the links, he probably nets a profit on every hit.

    • by Slycee ( 35025 ) <rick@@@vroop...com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:40PM (#6779061) Homepage
      The top links are for 'featured sites' (~= 'ads') and 'sponsored sites' (~= 'ads')


      Right you are. Interestingly, I would never have noticed that had you not pointed it out. Google, at least, does a much better job separating the sponsored links from the results (and the sponsored links are more appropriate to the search, too, I might add).

      At this stage of the game, MSN doesn't look like much of a threat to the One True Search Engine.

    • yes, *but* with the pretty lackluster separators distinguishing between the 3 sections *and* featured sites getting numbered in the same sequence as the "real" results how many people will notice?
    • First of all, in the Indian search engine those featured and sponsored links don't exist.

      Then, those "featured" and "sponsored" links use the same formatting like all the other links and the featured and sponsored text is so tiny and light grey that I didn't see it on first sight. In stark contrast Google uses different colors to distinguish sponsored links.

      Then, "featured site" does NOT mean ad, it means sites chosen by MSN to get shown for some search term. D'oh, that's exactly what this story is abou

    • The top links are for 'featured sites' (~= 'ads') and 'sponsored sites' (~= 'ads') and after you get past the ads, the results are roughly similar to google's results, with linux.org and redhat.com being in the same #1 and #3 spots, and linuxjournal surpassing linux.com as the #2 spot.

      Yes, the difference being that it is not easily discernible that the "featured" and "sponsored" sites are paid for or some such. All ads on google are obviously ads. furthermore, on msn.com you have to scroll down about 1/
      • by Anonymous Coward
        msn.com: 1 - 15 ao about 542 [pages containing] "linux"
        google.com: 1 - 10 of about 57,500,000

        so?

        run a search on dmoz.org, see how many you get.

        Run a search for 'Microsoft'. You'll also get less on MSN than google.

        Hint: msn is not an 'all the web' search engine.
    • Facts and reasoning in a Slashdot article? No need for us to get in a hissy-fit over nothing? How dare thee blaspheme our view of the world!
    • I'm not sure. If you search for "FreeBSD" or "NetBSD" you get the top (and correct) link labelled as a "featured site". Somehow I doubt they paid MSN to place their search results. (With OpenBSD the top link gets labelled a "web directory site".)
    • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <glandauer@charter.net> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:17PM (#6779271) Homepage
      The top links are for 'featured sites' (~= 'ads')

      Not exactly. MSN says that:

      Featured Sites are links that MSN Search editors believe are likely to be particularly relevant and useful. These sites are chosen from ones published by MSN affiliates, partners, sponsors, and advertisers, as well as other sites proven to be especially popular among our users. Featured Sites that best match your search words are drawn from:
      • The top sites for news in entertainment, sports, business, and politics.
      • The most popular musical artist sites for biographies and song samples.
      • MSN Encarta for encyclopedia information.
      • MSN content.
      • MSN content partners.
      • MSN advertising partners. (Microsoft accepts payment for listings from these.)

      So the very top sites are not necessarily advertizing driven. It appears to me that they're heavily driven by Microsoft's own interests. They want to drive you to other Microsoft owned content, like Encarta, MSN, and some businesses (including advertizers) who already do business with MSN.

    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:55PM (#6779435) Homepage
      'featured sites' (~= 'ads')

      No. The top 4 results are not paid advertizements. They are HAND PICKED by MSN. About Featured Sites results [msn.com].

      Featured Sites are links that MSN Search editors believe are likely to be particularly relevant and useful.

      It is quite reasonable to look at the objectivity of that editorial process. Rather than including one of the top sites in Linux news they provided a link on how to UNINSTALL Linux and other open source software. I find it hard to believe that link is one of the top 4 "relevant and useful" results for a general search on Linux. At best it look like a clear case of editorial bias, and at worst it is deceptive concidering that is it far from clear that the top 4 results are "editorial".

      -
    • fter you get past the ads, the results are roughly similar to google's results, with linux.org and redhat.com being in the same #1 and #3 spots, and linuxjournal surpassing linux.com as the #2 spot.

      Your examination is both superficial and incomplete. The first seven or so links on the Microsoft site are adverts and sites that want your money, ignoring them for purposes of comparison is kind of like ignoring the first seven hours of your day. Secondly, the choice of sites and the words used are highly der

  • Deja Vu (Score:5, Funny)

    by connsmythe96 ( 576445 ) <`slashdot' `at' `adamkemp.com'> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:38PM (#6779039) Homepage
    Is it just me, or has this been posted before? Or does Microsoft just do so amny stupid things that it all just blends together?
    • Re:Deja Vu (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dark-br ( 473115 )
      I cant remember if this has been posted before, thus the new /. slogan: News for the amnesiac. Stuff that mattered.

  • Pretty obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:38PM (#6779052)
    I'll get bashed for saying that, but the way Microsoft's business ethics are, there is not really anything other to expect.

    • No, it's not "just normal business" to fake evidence.
    • No, it's not "just normal business" for the CEO to lie in court.
    • No, it's not "just normal business" to introduce bugs/crashes in connection with competing software (Dr.DOS and god knows what else)

    And finally:

    Just because you have a spine and refuse to do business with Microsoft and/or the mob, doesn't make you a "zealot".

    • Re:Pretty obvious (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kpau ( 621891 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:55PM (#6779165)
      In all my business and personal dealings with Microsoft, I've always gotten the feeling I'm really dealing with a maturity level equivalent to the "100sr sux!! We r0xx0rd U!!! doofuses that infest many online games. Really... Bill and his companions may use complete sentences but anyone who's worked internally with the folks knows the "if you don't agree with me, you suck and are stupid" culture inside MS. They can put all the suits on they want and have thug Ballmer dance the monkey dance... but they really are kind of pathetic.
      • Re:Pretty obvious (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zenyu ( 248067 )
        In all my business and personal dealings with Microsoft, I've always gotten the feeling I'm really dealing with a maturity level equivalent to the "100sr sux!! We r0xx0rd U!!! doofuses that infest many online games.

        This may happen with the product groups but I haven't seen this in Microsoft Research, they seemed much more comfortable bashing C# or .NET than I had the guts to do. And some of the Microsoft evengalists are super smooth. The worst they will do is plead with you to use XYZ because their boss i
  • just looks like a page full of ads to me.
  • msn.ca (Score:5, Informative)

    by thebatlab ( 468898 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:42PM (#6779069)
    A search from msn.ca [www.msn.ca] on the term "linux" gave some reasonable results [msn.com] I think. There was Linux.com [linux.com] as the first, followed by sites like linuxcanada.com [linuxcanada.com], some provincial/city linux organizations from places like Edmonton, BC and Alberta, some links to online linux certification classes.

    Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me and it was interesting to see how tailored the results were given there were a lot of canadian sites up there and canadian area linux organization links. I have to say I was actually impressed given what I was ready to see from the headline of this article
    • Re:msn.ca (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RoLi ( 141856 )
      Actually those are not reasonable.

      If you search Google for Linux you will find something useful: SuSE, debian, RedHat, etc. Everything a new Linux user needs.

      Provincial Linux are exactly that: Provincial and useless for 99.9% of users who don't happen to live in that area.

      Even more support to the claim that Microsoft is tainting the search results.

      I don't know what algorithm MSN uses to search it's results, but I can hardly think of any that would put provincial organizations on top and worldwide Li

  • Priceless (Score:5, Funny)

    by Narphorium ( 667794 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:42PM (#6779073)
    I can only imagine the look on thier faces when they see how many times "Linux" has been queried on their search engine in a single day.
  • by Roy Ward ( 14216 ) <royward770@nOsPaM.actrix.co.nz> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:42PM (#6779075)
    MSN Search: Linux -- More Useful Everyday

    so they got something right :)
  • mentioned before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:43PM (#6779082) Journal
    I and others mentioned this awhile back in the article about MS trying to overtake Google. In all honesty, this may just be a flaw in their search algorithm. It's obvious that they're accepting payola for rankings, so if their algorithm looks like:

    1. Return results on top payer (Amazon?)
    2. Return results on other payers (Ebay, etc)
    3. Return results from a search of Microsoft's site
    4. Return the reults from a search of the internet

    Then linux isn't singled out. Of course we can speculate all we want to, since this is Slashdot and everything is a conspiracy. In all honesty it looks fishy, but if my above theory about their algorithm is true it makes perfect sense. Sorry MS, but if you want to replace Google on the internet, you need to be OBJECTIVE. Right now you're just another search engone, and a crappy one at that.
  • You expect the convicted monopolist not to queer the results towards making a buck? <insert cliche here>
    I expect their searching would be as evenhanded as their installation routines.
    Advice: when building a multi-boot configuration, install the monopoly-ware first, then whatever else you care to run.
    And if you need to find reference information, use google.
  • Oh come on... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:45PM (#6779094) Homepage
    A search for 'linux' on msn.com give amazon and ebay as the top two results, and a microsoft site promoting migration from Linux to Windows as the fourth listing. A search on MSN India is even more amusing -- the top result is a dead link, and the second one is Linuxsucks.com."

    Everybody knows that the 1.0 release of every Microsoft product sucks. But for the markets they want to take over, they are often able to squash the competition by v. 3.0 or 4.0.

    Google's obviously done a fantastic job so far in the search world. But then, Netscape did a fantastic job with Navigator until it turned into Communicator bloatware. Then Microsoft came out with a 4.0 release that ate Netscape's lunch.

    Google clearly has the brains to fight, but do they have the resources to remain the #1 engine, now that The Dark Lord has decided he wants that particular crown?

    In any case, MS often has the last laugh over people who ridicule their 1.0 releases.

    • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bogie ( 31020 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:31PM (#6779324) Journal
      Well if MS does indeed out-Google Google, then good for them. But they obviously have long way to go if that's what they really are planning.

      As far as resources go, MS may have 40B in the bank, but Google has the ENTIRE internet behind it and that's not something to take lightly. Outside of OS's, web browsers, and office suites, Microsoft hasn't exactly done well with every venture they've tried. Look at Smartphones,TVboxes,Consoles, etc. Beyond its desktop monopoly its not as successful a company as one would think. I guess we will see if they are able to leverage their OS to force users into making MS their default search engine. Up till now setting MSN to the homepage has ensured they can claim the page hit crown from Yahoo, but we all know when it comes to actually finding things on the Internet everyone goes elsewhere.

    • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:56PM (#6779436) Homepage

      Don't overrate Microsoft. They have two huge monopolies, the OS and Office. Almost everything else they do loses money. They are powerful but they are not invincible.

      They also have the problem that Google has some very broad patents. I don't see how Microsoft can build a better search engine without infringing; it would seem that they would have to attack the patents themselves as overbroad (which they arguably are -- Google patented the very idea that links are considered when scoring a result).

    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @07:33PM (#6779996) Homepage Journal
      Everybody knows that the 1.0 release of every Microsoft product sucks. But for the markets they want to take over, they are often able to squash the competition by v. 3.0 or 4.0.

      True, but version 5 and 6 still suck. It has something to do with their bizare goals. They are not in business to make a better browser, GUI, search engine or anything like that. They are in business to make money and they pervert their program's functionality to achieve that any way they can. So, M$'s GUI is sold like a billboard to the highest biders, their OS forces depencence on M$ servers, M$'s browser pushes whatever M$ feels like, Windoze updater breaks unix compatibility and their search engine delivers a message. Microsoft makes things do what it wants them to do, not what their custormers want.

      A search for Linux cancer [msn.com] is instructive. Someone just reading the story summaries would conclude that The Register and O'Riely think Linux and the GPL are bad. Additionally, the casual reader would conclude that Linux vendors are going out of business and that Paladium is "clever". These quotes are so targeted and numerous that it must be intentional. I'll quote what it produced because, M$ is known to change things like this:

      1. The Register ... (R). Why GPL software strangles babies and leaves stains on the carpet: Ballmer: Linux is cancer. Microsoft torches RMS, ... www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/19836.html
      2. Barrapunto | GPL: M$ tambien sufre El Cancer ... Register, la mismisima Casa de los Horrores Micro$oft podria haberse contagiado del Cancer GPL hace un par de anos. ... barrapunto.com/article.pl?sid=01/06/22/1146214&mod e=&threshold=
      3. ActiveWin.com - The Most Activated Windows Resource ... GPL is a cancer. Linux and open-source software are not. ... www.activewin.com/awin/comments.asp?HeadlineIndex= 12800
      4. OPINION:Curing Steve Ballmer's Open-Source 'Cancer' ... version of WordPerfect that runs on Linux -- because these products are not derived from GPL'd software. 'Cancer' Free ... www.osopinion.com/perl/story/10272.html
      5. O'Reilly Network: The Strange Case of the Disappearing Open Source Vendors [Jun. 28, 2002] Tim O'Reilly explains why open source is good for businesses even if it isn't always good for software vendors. Customer lock-in is the real enemy of business, not the GPL. ... said last year in his "Linux is a cancer" interview, GPL'd software "attaches itself in an intellectual property sense ... www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2002/06/28/vendor .html?page=2
      6. The Register ... GPL as some kind of plague, virally infecting everything it touches, is well-known. The company has outlawed it in its licence agreements, described it as a cancer, ... www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/24970.html
      7. Slashdot | Analyzing Palladium ... to Microsoft's new Palladium: a GPL-killer. 'It's the ... dramatic steps to make it GPL-hostile. Very clever and admirably ... Palladium. GPL-killer. Palladium FAQ ...

      The more I look at that list, the more respect I have for the designers of that search engine. It's brilliantly able to force the Microsoft message into even the most hostile of mouths. Ha, they call me a troll and put atribute words to me I never wrote [msn.com]. Compare that to the results Google gives [google.com], which looks more like what the user would want to see. Microsoft is evil and this is what an evil search engine looks like. Oh well, thats one search engine I never used before and will never use again. I also don't read or watch MSNBC news, yes, they suck too.

  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:49PM (#6779126) Homepage
    Never attribute to malice what you can explain by stupidity.

    Indian search [msn.co.in] on Windows. Only 10th result is good. First one is Windows Media Player, 2-6 are about Tablet PC with the same page for WinXP for Tablets appearing twice. There are also such wonders of relevance as Windows into the Soul of Satyajit Ray [tripod.com] and Windows to the Universe - Jupiter [ucar.edu].

    Search [msn.com] for Windows at MSN is only marginally better. The poster of the story overlooked that first 4-6 results are "Featured sites", which (as well as "sponsored") is the marketese for "advertisements". Amazon will happily sell to MSN searchers practically everything. Heck, the second result for shit [msn.com] offers that I "Purchase Expensive Shit" on Amazon. I shit you not.

    There are other gems at the MSN, like a "featured" result, suggesting that "MSN 8 offers a better browsing experience: Try it free for 60 days." when you search for netscape [msn.com] or gnu.org [gnu.org] results starting after 12th position when you search for gnu [msn.com]. The first result, of course, being the famous E-gnu.com African Safari Travel [e-gnu.com]...

    MSN (despite their claims to the contrary) is a mix between marketing crap and inferior technology. Thanks, I will pass.
    • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:46PM (#6779762)

      Never attribute to malice what you can explain by stupidity.

      That has to be my number one mantra ...

      Indian search on Windows. Only 10th result is good. First one is Windows Media Player, 2-6 are about Tablet PC with the same page for WinXP for Tablets appearing twice. There are also such wonders of relevance as Windows into the Soul of Satyajit Ray and Windows to the Universe - Jupiter.

      However, you're not comparing Apples with Oranges. Or Apples with Windows. Ahem.

      The term 'Linux' is variously used to describe:

      • An open source kernel
      • A complete operating system
      There are no other regular uses of this term.

      The term 'Windows' is applied to:

      • An operating system sold by MS.
      • An item comprising a allegory used for interacting with a computer (as in Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers)
      • That thing which lets light in through the hole in the wall
      • An interval of data (such as in a sliding windowed average)
      • Something through which an item can be seen or pictured.
      • ...
      • some other stuff I've missed by not bothering to dig out my dictionary.

      Searching just for Windows is likely to pull up a wide range of possible answers. Searching for 'Microsoft Windows' might be expected to pull up the same sorts of results as 'Linux' on its own. Searching for 'Linux operating system' or 'Windows operating system' would maybe be fairer.

      So while I think you are onto something by pointing out that MS search technology is 'crap', a blind search for Linux should stand a decent chance of getting something about some OS code. A blind search for 'Apple' or 'Windows' is much less likely to pull up something computer related.

      Cheers,

      Toby Haynes

  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:49PM (#6779128) Journal
    If Microsoft wants to compete and beat Google then the results of a search will have to be relevant. If they are not, then people will continue to use Google.

    Would you continue to use a particular phone book if it failed to supply you with accurate or consistent phone numbers? Of course not and you would tell your friends the same thing. Word of mouth is still the most powerful force the Internet has and if the Microsoft search engine supplies searches with "sponsored" links or sub-quality links that do fuck all for your search then that is going to get around.

    End of story.
    • by cmarkn ( 31706 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:06PM (#6779228)
      If Microsoft wants to compete
      Here's your mistake. Microsoft does not want to compete, they want to exploit the power of their monopoly to expand into a new market without competing. That's why they make their browser default to their search engine, and they make their internet service default to their search engine. They may allow users to set another search engine, but I would bet that their preferences get reset back to MSN defaults whenever they update their browser, and maybe even at random other times.

      Microsoft has been proven in court to be a monopoly, and this is how monopolies work.

  • by Rick_Clark ( 21676 ) <rclarkNO@SPAMlinuxiso.org> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:50PM (#6779130) Homepage
    Linuxiso.org is a featured site. We even get a little MS butterfly.
    http://search.msn.com/results.asp?RS=C HECKED&FORM= MSNH&v=1&q=linuxiso
  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <abacaxi@hot m a i l . com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @04:51PM (#6779143)

    Their search is wierd ... it is a cross between a search and a directory.

    They have the paid "feature sites", then the "web directory sites", and only then the rest of the stuff, which autmoatically puts all the non-commercial things onto page 2. Screw that. I prefer Google, mainly because the paid-for stuff is at the side and yoou cna get right to the results faster.

  • I would look like and smell like an Iloo [slashdot.org]
    after you loged out.
  • Is it any surprise at all that an MS-backed search engine would yield dubious results? Maybe someone with the technical expertise could start an open source search engine project to offer people an alternative to yet another attempt by the Redmond Giant Octopus to grow another tentacle. Is there such a project already? If not, why not? Who wouldn't love to see a search site completely devoid of commercial content and "paid links" and whatnot?
    • by forkboy ( 8644 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:04PM (#6779216) Homepage
      There have been a couple attempts at it, and there are a few currently in development. The problem is, a search engine in an expensive thing to run. You need tons of processing power, storage space, and bandwidth. These things are not free, nor are they cheap. (well, maybe storage space is)

      You'd also need to pay engineers to maintain it. It would be a full time job for several people, and you're not gonna get people doing THAT for free.

      I think google does a pretty good job of balancing commercialism with a very functional fast search engine. I see no need for anything else right now.

  • While if I was google I'd keep an eye on what is coming out of Redmond I wouldn't be too worried at this point.

    Google is the leading search engine because it returns the most useful results. IE has directed people to vairious search engines for years and still people will type "www.google.com" when they want to search. I suppose Microsoft could always start a astroturf FUD campaign but I don't see what else they can do to unseat google.

    When 'MSN' starts beeing a verb then maybe google has something to wor
    • IE has directed people to vairious search engines for years and still people will type "www.google.com" when they want to search.
      Even better, there's the Google toolbar [google.com] for IE, so you no longer even have to go to the Google homepage to perform a search.
  • No definititve information, but oddly enough the DNS technical contact is based out of Washington. Coincidence?...

    Registrant:
    Sucks, Linux (LINUXSUCKS2-DOM)
    LinuxSucks
    1 my way
    my way, TN 43365
    US

    Domain Name: LINUXSUCKS.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    Sucks, Linux (KG4621) linux__sucks@HOTMAIL.COM
    LinuxSucks
    1 my way
    my way, TN 43365
    US
    (221) 261-3088 fax: (914) 296-1088
    Technical Contact:
    Go2Net, Inc. (DA3706-ORG) dns-admin@HYPERMART.NET
    Go2Net, Inc.
    999 Third Ave, Ste 4700
    Seattle, WA 98104
    US
    206.447.1595F fax: - - - - - 20
  • MS has been trying to position itself as a dealer for a long time. What does MS hope to deal? (you're already hooked on their software, so that's not it)

    Referrals. MS wants to partner with everyone and direct the hapless Windows owner or MSN subscriber to targeted purchases like a junkie to a fix. Ideally so they can get a kickback from both the buyer and seller and become enough of a market presence that they can make demands. It's an extension of their "become necessary" type of business model. They

  • The 3rd link on MSN search leads to a Redhat 9 review where "Expensive" is listed as one of the cons...
    Huh?!
  • More (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oliver_Etchebarne ( 647762 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:00PM (#6779194) Homepage Journal

    Look this 'google' seach in msn search [msn.com]. You will notice that below 'google' as first entry, is MSN Search...

    Another interesing thing: A frind of mine tell me that the word 'Linux' doesn't exists in Encarta 2003 DVD :-D When you search for 'linux', it shows 2 non-related topics

    And.. will you trust in a 'Microsoft Wallet'? :-D

  • by JayJayEm ( 220851 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:00PM (#6779195)
    A search on msn.com also brings up the rather amusing

    http://tech.msn.com/software/OS/Linux/

    section of the MSN website. Watch MS try and sell you boxed RedHat!
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:01PM (#6779203) Homepage
    The domain www.linuxsucks.com is owned by a company called InfoSpace Inc. Microsoft has VERY strong ties to InfoSpace Inc. as Microsoft featured it as a company that saved money and improved reliability by using Microsoft's garbage... er... I mean software:

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/casestudies/C as eStudy.asp?CaseStudyID=13920

    And there's more than that, do a search for "Infospace inc" and Microsoft on Google and you'll find many more connections between the companies.

    So, don't let the amateurish appearance fool you, while linuxsucks.com appears to be written by ordinary people simply expressing a point of view, it's actually a well funded website with a clear agenda.

    • Oh, and for those too lazy to read my writeup, I figure I'll make life easy for yas =p From my Journal:

      "Well, I just couldn't believe the insanity of this claim, so I did some research. Turns out Infospace, Inc does own linuxsucks.com [netcraft.com]. However, it was originally owned by Go2Net [netcraft.com] (scroll down to the bottom), and Go2Net was bought by Infospace Inc in 2000 [elibrary.com], so the domain is now hosted by Infospace Inc/Go2Net. Go2Net offers hosting [internetnews.com], and is therefore hosting the site as a subsidiary of Infospace Inc; it has been hosting LinuxSucks.com [linuxsucks.com] since before Infospace Inc's acquisition.

      Hence, LinuxSucks.com [linuxsucks.com] is an amateur effort; it was neither created, nor funded my Infospace Inc, nor was it created or funded by Microsoft.

      As for Microsoft's supposed ties to Infospace Inc? Microsfot did a case study [microsoft.com] of Infospace Inc's use of "Microsoft Message Queing 3.0", and how it "Reduces Costs While Improving Reliability at InfoSpace". Hardly the deep, cash infused ties this tin-foil hat wearing zealot implies.

      Sorry, but that was just SO moronic I couldn't stand it."

      • Hardly the deep, cash infused ties this tin-foil hat wearing zealot implies

        Oh come on now, be fair to poor Miss Coney. A search for "infospace microsoft" reveals that not only have Microsoft done a case study on them, but the two companies also partnered in digital TV trials, and a former Microsoft "technology veteran" has joined them as their CTO.

        That's just looking at the first page Google gave me. I haven't even bothered doing any more research. It's pretty clear they, uh, think along the same lin

      • Idiotic?

        First, the domain IS owned by InfoSpace. You assume that it's merely hosting, but it IS owned by Infospace, that's a fact.

        You assume without ANY facts that LinuxSuck.com is an amateur effort. Remember, it IS owned by InfoSpace.

        You utterly failed to read my post. There are MANY connections between Microsoft and InfoSpace. Like I said, do a search on Google and you can read them yourself.

        Furthermore, Microsoft has out right LIED in the past. It stated under oath in the anti-trust lawsuit that
    • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:01PM (#6779474)
      Speaking of corporately-funded websites with agendas, who owns Slashdot again?

      Just injecting some perspective.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:06PM (#6779230)
    I like their tech.msn.com review:

    Red Hat 9.0 is a boon for those who already use it, but it's too expensive to warrant a switch from Windows. Try SuSE (or the free Red Hat) for a better mix of price and features.

    Oh yeah. That's quality reporting there :)

  • by Sunnan ( 466558 ) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:10PM (#6779248) Homepage Journal
    And do a search on google for the letter "s" (which I do accidentally all the time since I occasionally mess up using firebirds keyword search) and see what comes up on top.
  • Bueller? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:11PM (#6779252)

    I bet the people who wrote that Apache->IIS migration page are pretty excited to see people actually reading it all of a sudden.

  • Classic search (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:13PM (#6779260)
    On the other hand, try searching for "Microsoft" [msn.com] on MSN Search:

    Latest News: microsoft

    • Microsoft warns of critical IE flaws (MSNBC - Aug. 21)
    • Microsoft Windows: Insecure by Design (Washington Post - Aug. 24)
    • Microsoft finds security flaws (Boston Globe - Aug. 22)

    It cuts both ways :)

  • MS ODDITIES (Score:5, Funny)

    by segment ( 695309 ) <sil&politrix,org> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:15PM (#6779266) Homepage Journal
    I was starting up an MS program today and came across the following error:

    SoBigF is not your default worm
    would you like to make this your
    default worm?

    click yes cancel
  • in all fairness (Score:3, Informative)

    by dagar17 ( 579917 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:15PM (#6779267) Homepage
    Does noone remember the google search "go to hell" with microsoft as the top result. This is bad but its not the first time we've seen biased search results.
  • Mozilla (Score:3, Funny)

    by acscherp ( 204569 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:16PM (#6779270) Homepage
    On the other hand, Mozilla turns up as a "Top Pick" on the same msn search page [msn.com]
  • by CapS ( 83352 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:27PM (#6779307)
    It's pretty obvious that the results on MSN are biased. Do a search for open source on MSN. You get back a bunch of results that don't really apply. That is, except for the first result, which is an article on Infoworld about how SCO is hurting the open source movement. Now do the same search on Google--the results are _much_ more appropriate.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:33PM (#6779330) Homepage Journal
    The first pick is the FBSD project home.

    I guess they dont see *bsd as much of a threat, today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:40PM (#6779367)
    The MSN search is not necessarily evil, just totally helpless. MSN only find 542 documents containing "linux" while Google finds 21,000,000. The fact that Amazon comes up first just means that MSN search has very bad rankings.
  • by fidget42 ( 538823 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:43PM (#6779379)
    Just for giggles, I did a search for "SCO" [msn.com] and you wouldn't believe what I found at the #1 "Featured Site":

    # Santa Cruz Operation Top Pick
    Long-time vendor of UNIX for PCs has made the transition to Linux. [emphasis mine] Learn about their consulting services and their software offerings.
    www.sco.com
  • More (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Sunday August 24, 2003 @05:59PM (#6779463) Journal
    Just click the "Introducing Linux" link. It brings you to another msn page saying "Red Hat 9.0 is a boon for those who already use it, but it's too expensive to warrant a switch from Windows."

    The following links aren't much better. They have this carefully hand-crafted look to them. "Alternatives to Linux", "Linux Training, only $2095 for 5 days", etc.

    It's funny to see how far the world's biggest software company will go to bash free software rather than trying to beat them with better software. They've got enough spare cash to hire a hundred thousand programmers for ten years. They could basically write a new operating system from the ground up that runs almost anything on almost anything (assuming enough ram & hard disk space), and does it well, but instead they have probably under a thousand people developing their products and they're getting roughed up by dozens of open source teams of 1-20 active developers each. Not to mention that they sell a stripped down version of Windows to their main audience, when they could give everyone copies of their best version and only see a small drop in sales. Their licensing strategy is holding them back.
  • by georgescriban ( 153391 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:56PM (#6779817) Homepage
    Searching search.msn.com for "linux" will really highlight the weakness of MSN's search features -- the results are actually supplied by three different companies, then stitched together.

    MSN provides up to five "featured" sites for a search phrase, usually to companies that have marketing relationships with MSN (like Amazon or eBay).

    Overture gets to throw three "sponsored" sites at the top of every page of results, so these are companies who bid to be shown for a particular search term.

    LookSmart provides the "directory" results. Of course, you get into the LookSmart directory by paying a fee to have your URL(s) associated with certain (a) certain search phrase(s). In the case of a search for "linux", you have to wade through 400+ directory results before you get to...

    "Web" results, which are provided by Inktomi. Inktomi's engine collects URLs in one of two ways: through a regular crawl of the Web (like any search engine), and through a fee-based "paid inclusion" program where companies can submit their sites through a direct XML feed into the Inktomi index.

    At least, that's the way it works for now. Given that both Inktomi and Overture have been bought by Yahoo!, there's very little chance that Microsoft wants MSN to fatten a competitor's coffers. Microsoft's moving as fast as they can to get their own technology in shape to replace the outside vendors. But MSN Search isn't powered by Microsoft quite yet.
  • by cliveholloway ( 132299 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @07:33PM (#6779998) Homepage Journal
    that the msn linux [msn.com] page has a review for Mandrake 8.0 on it!

    They must have a full time Linux correspondent, eh? :)

    .02

    cLive ;-)

  • by qtp ( 461286 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @07:39PM (#6780043) Journal
    Although MSN would have you believe that thier search feature is a service offered to users, it is clearly a marketing tool from end to end.

    In order to be listed at MSN, you must deal with Looksmart [looksmart.com], a company that touts itself as "the global leader in paid inclusions [looksmart.com]". In other words, Microsoft's MSN Search is not in the business of helping you find what you are looking for, but the business of making sure you go where thier customers want you to go.

    Google, on the other hand is a search company, that specialized in search technologies, for your corporate intranet [google.com] or for your web page [google.com] before they added advertising [google.com], first, to thier search page and later to your own page [google.com].

    While there is no doubt that Google Advertising is a large part of thier revenue, the success of Google Adverts is due to thier apropriateness to the viewer of the page. This appropriateness is only possible if there is an attempt to keep the pagerank formula somewhat objective.

    IMHO, Google's business model is the stronger, because they are not attempting the impossible task of keeping the viewer while simultaneously attempting to manipulate him (like MSN is), and the advertising model that Google has created is the only advertising that I would allow on a page of my own.

  • Typical M$ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crovira ( 10242 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @08:23PM (#6780354) Homepage
    they see what users are doing, (using other people's sofware and innovations of course,) and launch something that they will include on their desktop for "free."

    I thing that this should be easy enough to kill though through the anti-trust (ha ha ha ha, like M$ gives a shit about the law,) because its something external to the operating system and M$ should not be allowed to put it on their desktop AT ALL as anything else than a legitimate install process. They should be forced to compete like everybody else.

    The alternative is to have the systems report bogus pages and broken to M$ web crawlers and spiders to shut them out of the useful information while leaving anybody else's search-engines go through untrameled.

    After a while, people will get the hint "Wanna find shit, use NOT M$ because M$ search engine sucks and gives you a ton of broken links."
  • by Unfallen ( 114859 ) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @08:49PM (#6780521) Homepage
    Maybe an attempt to prove their trustworthiness, but at least it's good to see a search for Microsoft [msn.com] throws up this as the second result:

    # Latest News: microsoft

    Microsoft warns of critical IE flaws (MSNBC - Aug. 21)

    Microsoft Windows: Insecure by Design (Washington Post - Aug. 24)

    Microsoft finds security flaws (Boston Globe - Aug. 22)

  • by mentin ( 202456 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:03AM (#6781704)
    Nobody beats netscape in the area of objective search: try searching for 'hotmail' at netscape.com. First result is ... Netscape Mail. They claim it is 'powered by Google', but obviously they "tweak" google results to promote their own and probably other's paid services.
    (I've discovered this recently when using internet kiosk with netscape browser).

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