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Microsoft Works on Search Capabilities 480

bl8n8r writes "Microsoft is betting millions that someday it will be as well known for search as Google is. Some of its efforts to simplify search on the Internet will soon be in place. The new version of Microsoft's MSN Internet service, available this winter, will include a tool for retrieving digital photos based on images in the pictures. For example, users can ask their computers to retrieve all pictures that include a specific person's face or background."
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Microsoft Works on Search Capabilities

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  • Image search bots? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:17PM (#7006159) Homepage Journal
    The new version of Microsoft's MSN Internet service, available this winter, will include a tool for retrieving digital photos based on images in the pictures

    Hmmm. Interesting. I have seen a number of new MS bots trolling all over our lab site for the past two months grabbing every image they can.

  • by wawannem ( 591061 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:17PM (#7006161) Homepage
    I mean really, it seems like everytime M$ comes out with something new, they tell us it will be the second coming of Christ. C#, .NET, etc. I mean, when are we gonna learn that M$ touting a new technology as the best thing ever isn't newsworthy.
    • by $calar ( 590356 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:39PM (#7006473) Journal
      Microsoft needs to realize that Google's success is on its simplicity and lack of obtrusiveness. MSN's web site is the antithesis of this. If they are spending all of these research dollars to find out that less is better, then it seems like a waste of money to me.
      • furthermore (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SHEENmaster ( 581283 )
        google doesn't bother with extraneous crap. Altavista [] and AllTheWeb [] both support more types of searches than google.

        A single feature is useless when another engine still returns better results. I still use google for text searches, only hopping over to altavista for a music search.
      • Geeks like Google because it doesn't try to do too much for them. Mundanes will probably like a super-powered MSN search because it will do everything for them. The best part is that there is room for both mindsets. Just as IE coming with windows does not prevent people from installing Mozilla or some other browser and using it nigh-exclusively (MSNM client, for example, still runs iexplore explicitly, rather than using the system's default browser) MSN search being the default will not stop you from using Google. Especially if you don't use IE. The fact that IE will be ever more closely tied to the OS in no way changes this.

        I don't use MSN search at all any more. Even on the rare occasion I'm using IE (usually at school) and I somehow end up with MSN search results, I don't even look at them any more, I just close them and visit google. Or retype my URL :)

      • You need to realise that the key to Microsoft's success is driving the users down the path of using the tools Microsoft prefer by leveraging the desktop.

        If you think Microsoft won't take advantage of that desktop by doing everything they can to make it as easy as possible to use their search and as hard as possible to use anyone else's, you're deluded.

        This isn't about whose product is the easiest and nicest to use. This will be about how hard it is to choose anthing but Microsoft's.
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:08PM (#7006754) Homepage
      Unfortunately for Google, the market for doing Internet searches has a low barrier to entry. Just look at all the search engines that appeared after Yahoo. There is AltaVista, Lycos, AskJeeves, etc. Still, the search engine at Google sports advanced sorting and presentation algorithms that the aforementioned search companies could not match 3 years ago. Why? Those companies simply were interested in bringing any kind of search capability to market as soon as possible, regardless of how simple the search capability might be. Back then, we were in the midst of the Internet craze, and time-to-market was critical for delivering the unprofitable company to an initial public offering (IPO).

      Now, times are different. Companies like Yahoo and especially Microsoft are aggressively investing in building the kinds of complex yet user-friendly search capabilities that Google has. Microsoft will soon have a search engine that rivals or exceeds the capabilities of Google's search engine. Google is doomed.

      Internet-search tools is not the only market with a low barrier to entry. Another such market is the market for virtual machines. Consider the virtual machine monitor (VMM) sold by VM Ware []. It did excellent marketing of a very simple idea -- and a very old idea. VMM was invented by IBM and has been around since the 1960s. The theory of VMM has been well documented and understood in the scientific literature. VMWare took the idea of VMM and simply applied it to the x86 chips. VMWare's genius is in marketing its product as though it were a revolutionary breakthrough. Most of its customers bought the marketing campaign with hook, line, and sinker.

      Microsoft is now investing millions of dollars in VMMs and purchased the key VMM technologies from Connectix []. Microsoft has succeeded in creating a VMM that rivals or exceeds the capabilities of the VMM sold by VMWare. VMWare is doomed.

      Unlike both Google and VMWare, Microsoft has an R&D budget of billions of dollars. Microsoft can defeat both Google and VMWare in their respective markets. Despite public declarations to the contrary, both Google and VMWare are warily aware of Microsoft's R&D might and are working quickly towards an IPO while there is still chance for an IPO. If you buy stock in either Google or VMWare, you might as well just burn the money. It will be worthless.

      ... from the desk of the reporter []

      • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:52PM (#7007231)
        Never undererstimate corporate stupidity.

        For example Microsoft bought the set-top box leader - WebTV and everybody thought they would drive everybody else out of business - yet they screwed it up so badly that despite millions of dollars Tivo etc. overtook the former leader WebTV.

        Google is successful with a simple concept: Don't be intrusive, carefully place advertisments and respect your visitor.

        What Microsoft and obviously you don't understand is that you don't need an RD budget of billions to deliver that.

        Microsoft's company philosophy and ethics are contradicting. They would plaster so many ads out there and scew the search results so much that they would open the way for alternative offers. Just look at MSN-search, the "featured" and "advertized" links are barely distinguishible from the rest. (a pale grey tiny text)

        • I would say it's worse than that. Other than the two core areas: operating systems (and I use the term loosely) and office suites Microsoft has managed to fail at, hose, bungle and just generally screw up everything else it has tried. Look at the personal finance market, for example. Intuit handily threw Microsoft out of that race, and the only reason that Microsoft didn't succeed with its usual approach of simply buying Intuit is because Federal regulators queered the deal. No, Microsoft, in spite of t
      • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:59PM (#7007328)

        It's this attitude that kills companies more than any other reason. You must remember that despite Microsoft's attempts, there are competitors that they haven't managed to kill. Intuit is one, despite Microsoft practically giving Microsoft Money away with Windows 95, bundling it in virtually every "home" product they make, and aggressively pricing it. Quicken and QuickBooks still exist and are doing very well.

        Should Google fear Microsoft? Who wouldn't? Should they lay down and die because they will inevitably be massacred by the Beast of Redmond? Of course not. Now, should Google IPO because of the Microsoft threat? I doubt it. Not being held to a board of stockholders lets them do things they wouldn't be able to do otherwise like refuse potential revenue streams like pop-up advertisments and pay-for-place search results. The very things that got Google where it is today would be lost if they IPOed and the stockholders started to demand that they maximize their revenue by doing so.

        Right now Google has a better product than Microsoft. If they continue to have a better product than Microsoft, there's a good chance they could survive. If they cease having a better product than Microsoft they will die.

    • by h00pla ( 532294 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:15PM (#7006830) Homepage
      Microsoft always has to be number one. The whole company should sit down with a psychiatrist (or at least Gates and Ballmer).

      You take a company like Branson's Virgin and you see that they like a certain sector and they go into it and they try to offer an alternative product in a fun way - music, airlines, cola, mobile phones, investment services.

      But Microsoft is totally the opposite. They have some kind of a corporate neurosis about owning and dominating it all. I associate no sense of fun with them. They are sort of like Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life. Now when I hear that they want to put Google out of business, it only confirms what George Bailey said of Mr. Potter, how warped and frustrated they are.

  • Lovely. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:17PM (#7006162)

    user: Okay.. search for that Kubrick movie 'Lolita'..

    WebClippy: It appears you are searching for kiddie pr0n.
    Here are some suggestions:

    [ ] Send an automated confession to the FBI

    [ ] Format your hard drive

    [ ] All of the above

  • by sixteenraisins ( 67316 ) <william.purpleandblack@com> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006170) Homepage
    If you've ever visited the MSN portal more than a handful of times in a two-week period, you'd know that:

    (1) The search capabilities are horrible; Google is much better.

    (2) The "news" story titles are misleading and the stories are frequently repeated over the course of a week; Yahoo! is much better.

    Once upon a time, businesses recognized their core competencies and did what they do best, and let other companies handle the things that those companies are good at. Once again, Microsoft chooses not to apply this conventional wisdom to their MSN portal

    Remember Microsoft Bob?

    • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:27PM (#7006314)
      yes but always remember MS *ALWAYS* starts out sucky and then gets less sucky forever.

    • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:31PM (#7006364)
      (2) The "news" story titles are misleading and the stories are frequently repeated over the course of a week;

      Now where have I seen this before? Hmmm...
    • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:22PM (#7006904)
      You forget that when MS ships IE 7 (or whatever) and resets everyone's home page to its portal with Faster(tm), Better(tm) search, a lot of people (i.e., non-geeks) will just use it.

      I spoke to someone the other day who didn't use Google because he thought he just needed "something simple" not as "sophisticated" as Google is. I explained to him that in this case, the "sophistication" wasn't a question of the number of features, a la MS Word, but a question of quality.

      Remember that as more people us the net, the net becomes more like TV, and to make money on TV, you don't necessarily go for the most sophisticed audience. Making money has always been a MS priority.
  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006173)
    Microsoft? Search experts?

    Has anybody here used the awful search interface they put up on MSDN a couple of months ago? Its hideous. It takes twice as long to find anything as its predecessor did. Googling with is often the only way of finding some documents (I had to do that to find out any information on programming NT Services without using .NET...)

    Searching for a name of one of their programs ("dr watson") doesn't turn up any information on it in the knowledge base. You have to search for 'drwtsn32' to get anywhere, despite the full name of the program being mentioned in the articles about it.

    Yeah, great search interface. Really inspires my confidence.
    • Microsoft. Search [] experts [].

      What's done in the lab and what can actually be sold are very different things. The senior information retrieval researchers at MSR are *smart* people.

      I had the opportunity to hear Susan Dumais' talk on "Stuff I've Seen" at SIGIR this year. SIS is a really interesting piece of software, a personal search engine. Every e-mail you send or receive, every file you create is fed into a search engine residing on your PC. You can then search for things by date, keyword, etc. and ea
    • by roach2002 ( 77772 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:39PM (#7006464) Homepage

      Search all microsoft related websites, and others such as too.
    • I looked for Linux on MSN...The 4 first results are : 1-Amazon 2-Ebay intruducing Linux ("Red Hat 9.0 is a boon for those who already use it, but it's too expensive to warrant a switch from Windows.") 4-Alternatives to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP : "Learn about the Microsoft alternatives and how to move to them from open source products." ( ) Is it Informations we're looking for, or commercials and MS propaganda ?
  • by Enrique G ( 606211 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006177) Homepage
    Yes, Microsoft will compete with Google someday. This shows their on the right track: We Can't find orselves! []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006179)

    as well known for search as Google is

    It already is, though the quality of its reputation is far behind.

    "Do you know Google?"
    "Yeah, it's great."

    "Do you know MSN?"
    "Yeah, that piece of crap?"

  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006181) Homepage Journal
    But he said better personalization is one way to improve searching. For example, if MSN knows that the computer user searching for "pizza" lives in a specific ZIP code, it can deliver results of pizza places in that ZIP code.

    That's exactly why I *won't* want to use this new search engine. If I want to find pizza places in my zip code, I'll do it myself [], thank you.

    Crap, if I wanted internet that logged into me, I'd already have it [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's extremely easy to change your search engine. Changing your OS, your office suite, and even your browser, require a lot more effort for normal users. This creates MS's lock-in. But changing your search engine is as easy as typing in a new address (and Google's toolbar makes it even easier for users).

    We've already seen a number of big fluctuations in search engine popularity in the short history of the internet. It's not a matter of what MS does as much as it is a matter of what Google does. If G
  • by McVeigh ( 145742 ) <seth&hollen,org> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:18PM (#7006185) Homepage
    For example, users can ask their computers to retrieve all pictures that include a specific person's face or background.

    think of time saved in searching for porn!!
  • Microsoft is betting millions that someday it will be as well known for search as Google is.

    (golf clap)

    Millions, eh? For Microsoft that's, what, the cost of a month's worth of the tonnes of live pigs they feed Balmer (it's true! I swear!).

    Anyhow, this is a Good Thing. Given that this is a situation where Microsoft can't strangle Google with it's OS dominance (at least, not in any way I can think of), more competition > less competition.

  • by capedgirardeau ( 531367 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:19PM (#7006194)
    GNU has a very nifty system for searching image content now or "Content Based Image Retrieval System (CBIRS)" as they call it.

    It works much better than I expected.

    I wish I was skilled enough to help out with the project because I think it will become important in the future and now that MS is after the same sort of application you can image what will happen.

    The GIFT (the GNU Image-Finding Tool) []

  • GIFT (Score:2, Informative)

    by malus ( 6786 )
    doesn't GIFT do the same thing?? .. thing being: search images?
  • MS search won't work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) * <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:20PM (#7006213) Homepage
    and I will tell you why: This is one of the few fields where quality matters over quantity. The average user, when searching google, wants decent results, not corporate sponsored bullshit.

    You will note the fall of yahoo as an material example.

    Want an example? Go type "linux" into the msn search engine. I'll wait. Now, compare those results with those garnered from google.
    • by oscarcar ( 208055 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:48PM (#7006565) Homepage
      Type this search into MSN and what do you get?

      search: why msn search sucks
      result: CNN WebSearch: Search Results for 'google sucks'

    • by wonkamaster ( 599507 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:49PM (#7006577)
      Want an example? Go type "linux" into the msn search engine. I'll wait. Now, compare those results with those garnered from google.
      That's funny! What's great is the fourth option, which provides alternatives to Linux... even before the search engine has provided you results on Linux.

      Now take it a step further and search on "black people ebay". Google [] results start off by providing links to items offered by black people and about racism. MSN [] results start off by advertising that it will sell you black people on E-bay (as well as their related items).

      I wonder how long before they fix that little problem!
  • "If you have to struggle through looking for things in hundreds of different places, it's just going to be intolerable," said Susan Dumais, a Microsoft senior researcher ...

    Yeah, that's just terrible to expect people to go to some kind of effort to find information. Hey Einstein: that's why it's called "research". If you want to find information, you're always going to have to do some work.

    The new version of Microsoft's MSN Internet service, available this winter, will include a tool for retrieving

    • Face recognition software, dude! It's worked wonders in Tampa! The technology is so staggeringly sucessful that it's being implemented everywhere.

      I hear MS is calling it "Vaporsearch".

    • I'm guessing that the article author really screwed up something here. I can't imagine any kind of software that is going to automagically determine the identity of people in the background of a picture. Does anyone know what the hell this search engine really does?

      My guess is that they're using the new MPEG-7 [] standard, which includes metatags to describe what's in the image, movie, or audio clip. These are user-entered metatags, so your quality of search may vary.

      Incidentally, MPEG-7 was finalized more t

  • by mopslik ( 688435 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:21PM (#7006221)
    ..."to google" is a much nicer verb than "to MSN".
    • "to google" is a much nicer verb than "to MSN".

      Actually, both are very accurate!

      "I Googled some results for you" implies that you found some results from a large number (a googol []) of sites.

      "I MiSiN'd but I couldn't find anything" correctly implies that you had no luck at all, as all the good sites were "missin'" from the index.

      Never underestimate the M$ marketroids!
  • by tessaiga ( 697968 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:21PM (#7006225)
    It won't be easy to shove those two aside, however. Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch online newsletter, noted that Google and Yahoo have loyal followings.
    Google commands the large following it has today because people trust the search results to be impartial as well as accurate. Having a good search algorithm is only part of the battle. That's why Google has been scrupulous about setting its "sponsored links" off to the side where they're clearly identifiable, and refusing to push up search results in return for cash. The trust issue is especially important in the closed-source world of search engines, where the details of how the searches operate are not released (part of their "security by obscurity" approach).

    Given that Microsoft doesn't have the best history as far as impartiality goes, even if they did come up with a good search algorithm, how much would people trust the results?

  • The URL has changed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eponymous Cowboy ( 706996 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:22PM (#7006232)
    CNN moved the story ... the link from the article is 404'd.

    The article is now here [].
  • Images in pictures (Score:2, Insightful)

    by r_glen ( 679664 ) *
    ...will include a tool for retrieving digital photos based on images in the pictures

    Wasn't it already shown [] that this technology is quite unreliable?
    This 'tool' is not going to work, much like my Xbox.

    Server Error
    This server has encountered an internal error which prevents it from fulfilling your request. The most likely cause is a misconfiguration. Please ask the administrator to look for messages in the server's error log.

  • by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <(ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC) (ta) (PGC)> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:23PM (#7006250) Homepage
    But he said better personalization is one way to improve searching. For example, if MSN knows that the computer user searching for "pizza" lives in a specific ZIP code, it can deliver results of pizza places in that ZIP code.

    As much as I hate Microsoft, if they made a good proximity search engine, I would use it all the time. It's one feature I wish google had.
  • by LilMikey ( 615759 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:23PM (#7006251) Homepage
    They're throwing around all these inflated statitics about how many people use their service and number of searches and what not. It's all PR! The only people using their search are those that type their searches straight into the IE address bar and that's about 75% of Windows users I'd say. I've never heard anyone claim that MSN is their search engine of choice. Noone actually *chooses* to use MSN search... probably because it's not that good.

    They'll have to iron out regular web searching before any of their gadgets and toys will be taken seriously.
  • Correct Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by xaraya ( 635792 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:23PM (#7006253) Homepage
    Correct link [] to article (as if anyone reads them;)
  • I wouldn't be surprised if face recognition searches worked in the future, but MS isn't going to be the ones who pioneer it.

    Let's do a search for "Microsoft switcher" and see what comes up [].
  • Google is no.1 for a reason, they produced the best search engine without any major advertising. I'm all for competition but if Microsoft want to take over Googles' no 1 spot by just having deeper pockets than I sincerely hope they fail.* If however they intend to make a better search engine then good luck to them. * Yes I know MS have more money to throw at R&D.
    • Misspelling (Score:2, Troll)

      by mabu ( 178417 )
      I think you mis-typed "R&D" when you meant "M&A".

      Microsoft doesn't do research and development, they assimilate and copy other technologies.

      Google became number one because they created the best product, not because they leveraged their dominance to force their system upon the masses. As long as users are free to choose which search engine they want to use, Microsoft will be at a disadvantage because the company has NEVER been able to produce a superior product in any category, and has never been
  • Bull... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Here are your results buried within 100.000 ads"
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:25PM (#7006284) Homepage
    Real breakthrouhs in search technology are likely to come from Semantic Web technoligies: using standards like RDF, OWL, etc. for document markup based on content type (using standard ontology definitions).

    The technology for the Semantic Web is good enough - people and organizations just have to be willing to add semantic markup. This will enable what I would call knowledge based search. Some good tools are:

    HP's semantic web toolkit []

    Protege Ontology Editor []

    RDF and semantic web tools for Swi-Prolog []


  • Bell has developed a way to store phone calls, bills, pictures and music on a computer hard drive, with a search tool that can sort through it all.

    Windows button + F
  • Simple strategy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Not_Wiggins ( 686627 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:25PM (#7006296) Journal
    They can just make it the "default" search in IE.

    I can just see it, too... IE will "accidentally" resolve to And while the lawsuits are going, M$ will claim (as in, for marketing purposes) marketshare as proof that their search is better.

    And when it does come out in the courts some ump-teen years later with Microsoft guilty of uncompetitve practices, Bill will cough up the $300M to google and "fix" the "bug."

    I've seen this history before... I don't expect them to change a winning formula. 8P
  • Wow, there are only five comments posted at this moment and already the link is dead.

    Well, it's 404, not slashdot effect, so I'll save the snide comments about Netscape Enterprise Server [].

    Anyway, here's a working link []. Should be good for at least a few minutes.

  • by JavaSavant ( 579820 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:26PM (#7006303) Homepage

    I worked for for a while before we were part of a package sold by FAST Search and Transfer to Overture over the summer. Overture then is gobbled up by Yahoo!, this all after Yahoo grabs Inktomi. The SEO market is in consolidation. Back after we were bought by Overture, there was a lot of speculation that Microsoft would buy out Overture, along with the Yahoo! speculation. In fact, each of the engineers with were contacted by Microsoft regarding employment possibilities. One of my coworkers went to Yahoo! and i'm contracting now.

    But I digress...

    This is a market in consolidation. Microsoft throwing its' hat in the ring is probably a good thing for the market, like them or hate them. They have the capital to bring new products to market and introduce some more innovation to the search engine space. This IS a good thing. However it's going to cost Microsoft an arm and a leg to get in. Yahoo! bought Overture for the paid inclusion search, Google has it's own products now for sponsored search as we know. Microsoft is going to have to develop this capability in house now, or pay a king's ransom to Yahoo! to get the Overture paid search into their product.

    The only advantage Microsoft has is that when you install IE, your home page is always MSN search. When you mistype a URL (outside of VeriSign's squatting), you get sent to MSN search. They'll get a lot of traffic by default.

    But it also could re-open anti-trust inquires as well....very interesting.

  • Biggest concern holding this back:

    MSN search as censored by Microsoft.

    Simply put, I can't trust a MS based search to return relevant information and not censor it's results. Until MS can resolve this issue, their search will never be as popular as Google. This is the single fundamental lesson that all other search engines seem to have failed. Between paid placements to censoring undesirable topics or information, they have all lost credibility. I want information, not someone else's judgement. Many people
  • retrieve all pictures that include a specific person's face
    Beers on me for everyone who reads this on the day they do that.

    Being able to do that reliably is way beyond current image processing technology.

  • Someone does something right, really right. So M$ sees and all of a sudden *THEY* have to do it, they dip into their $30E10 cash reserve and buy their way into the field. All because Billy wrote a BASIC interpreter 25 years ago. Fsk Billy, Fsk Micro$oft, Fsk stupid fsking users that support him.
  • Is there any technology they can't let be? Why is it they feel the need to yank the rug from under every single software company out there?

    Seriously, Microsoft's megalomania is showing again. Why can't they just be satisfied with just doing one thing WELL instead of muscling their way into everything else and forcing mediocrity wherever they go?

    Jeez MS! Why not get the bugs out of Windows first THEN start all these kinds of projects?! The simple fact is - you don't have time for this AND trustworthy compu
  • image analysis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:29PM (#7006338) Journal
    I really a while back about the army doing automate image analysis feeding a computer pictures in order to identify hidden tanks. It worked great. Sorta.. it turned out that the army, in order to teach it, fed in pictures of tanks hiding in trees. Well the program started to mark as a 'hit' anything with trees in it. As i recall it was abandoned.
  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:30PM (#7006345)
    Microsoft is betting millions

    To us mere mortals, that's like betting a $1.00.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:33PM (#7006383)
    People are forgetting that for Microsoft to succeed, they dont have to beat Google, they dont even have to come close to Google. Someday, we geeks are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we are not the majority.

    Unless someone downloads the Google Toolbar [], the only search option in 80% of the browsers on the web will be Microsoft's. That is a marketing message for advertisers that Google cannot match. Most of Microsoft's business are only to provide value-add for Windows and Office. Profitability beyond that is only gravy. Now, you take a Microsoft search, link it with Office-specific tools that let people search for supporting footnotes or photos while drafting a document, or PowerPoint presentation, then you have some value there.

    It doesnt matter at all whether Microsoft comes up with anything better than Google, what matters, is that they have the capacity to suck the oxygen from Google's revenue stream if they ever come remotely close, because of all the desktops under their control.

    The future probably sees Google in court asking to be placed next to Microsoft's own search button in their browser or whatever is supposed to represent browsing in Longhorn or beyond. When that happens, you know that Google has lost the battle.

  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:35PM (#7006405) Homepage Journal
    What I would like to see in a search engine is a engine that not only knows the picture, but also knows what's in the EXIF tags as well. There's also that XML-based creator field standard thing.

    Could make for some intresting surgical searches. Want to see what output a specific model of digital camera it makes? Put in the model's name in the right field for EXIF, and see what people have come up with.
  • by presroi ( 657709 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:37PM (#7006439) Homepage
    If I remember correctly, google is doing quite the opposite to a well known hobby called "vapour-ware".

    Tools on the google labs page []are labeled beta or whatever but they are still much more feature-filled and stable than the competitors' products I am aware of.

    In this case, msn makes this mistake again when they are publishing some features which "will be" doing foo or bar some day.

    Of course, an advanced picture search is nice and it might lead into more results than but the main difference is that is real.

    The topic was "Microsoft Works on Search Capabilities" which is a correct headline. The rest was redundant.

    (did anyone make an obligaroty "Microsoft Works"-joke regarding to the topic yet?")

    The only thing I can see from Microsoft when it comes to search engines are logfile entries like: - - [13/Mar/2003:14:31:31 +0100] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 304 - "-"
    "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0) Fetch API Request"
    or - - [23/Jul/2003:11:59:29 +0200] "GET /hfaq/news/../
    ml HTTP/1.0" 200 1709 "-" "lwp-trivial/1.36" - - [01/Aug/2003:02:20:02 +0200] "HEAD /hfaq/stats/stat2002
    08.html; HTTP/1.0" 404 0 "-" "libwww-perl/5.65"
    and this (several hundred times): - - [18/Aug/2003:08:19:26 +0200] "HEAD /hfaq/hfaq6400.html
    HTTP/1.0" 200 0 "-" "LWP::Simple/5.68" - - [18/Aug/2003:08:19:26 +0200] "GET /hfaq/hfaq6400.html
    HTTP/1.0" 200 2417 "-" "lwp-trivial/1.36" - - [18/Aug/2003:08:19:27 +0200] "HEAD /hfaq/links.html HT
    TP/1.0" 200 0 "-" "LWP::Simple/5.68"
    and finally - - [06/Sep/2003:05:02:14 +0200] "GET /daily/2003/04/200304
    14-02.png HTTP/1.0" 304 - " " "M
    ozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.
    1.4322)" - - [06/Sep/2003:14:14:37 +0200] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.0"
    200 62 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT; MS Search 4.0 Robot)
  • by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@stonent ... t c l a r> on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:43PM (#7006514) Journal
    For example, users can ask their computers to retrieve all pictures that include a specific person's face or background."

    What if I'm searching for an alternate link for the Goatse man for posting on /.? There's no face!
  • by Traa ( 158207 ) * on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:44PM (#7006532) Homepage Journal
    Well, my father was recently telling me that he was considering repainting the garage with some kind of latex paint but was concerned about wether it would bond appropriatly to the wall. He wanted to see results of how that would work out...

    I can allready see him going to MSN image search and searching for "Latex Bondage"

    yeah, this was taken from some silly flash clip about parents and the internet...
  • Nutch? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greenskyx ( 609089 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:50PM (#7006584)
    Has anyone seen nutch? It looks pretty interesting. "Nutch provides a transparent alternative to commercial web search engines. Only open source search results can be fully trusted to be without bias. (Or at least their bias is public.)"

    Take a look here: here []
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blinkylights ( 589120 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @02:51PM (#7006596)

    Joe6pack: Sorry, Google, I know you've got a better product and all, but MSN search came with my browser which came with my OS which came with my computer. Switching is too hard, and anyway I heard that MSN search works better with Windows.

    So MS illegally uses its OS monopoly to create a monopoly in the browser market, which it will now, in turn, use as leverage to gain an illegal advantage over search/portal competitors.

    I guess this is where the DOJ's failure to secure meaningful remedies against Microsoft comes to roost.

  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:01PM (#7006699) Homepage
    Long story short, Microsoft has far too much of an agenda to allow objective searches, and everyone knows it. There's no way I would ever depend on Microsoft's search engine to deliver reliable results about Linux, open source, the GPL, or anything else that MS is "competing" with. And neither would many of the millions of tech-savvy people who use Google every day.

    That and the fact that a big part of Google's draw is its simplicity, in that you don't get 120K of "how would you like to buy some crap?" banners before you get to your search results. Microsoft doesn't have the restraint or the finesse to pull that off, either. They could -- but they won't. Not when the almighty dollar is at stake, which is all MS cares about.

    So they might be able to sell it to the mom and pop users who have no clue, but replace Google? No. Anyone who knows anything about MS or Google won't go for it.
    • by a low-flying penguin ( 694530 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:57PM (#7007299)
      The first 4 results for search for "Linux" on MSN are :

      1 - Amazon
      2 - Ebay
      3 - Introducing Linux by "Red Hat 9.0 is a boon for those who already use it, but it's too expensive to warrant a switch from Windows."

      4 - Alternatives to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP : "Learn about the Microsoft alternatives and how to move to them from open source products."
      ( gration)

      Parent was exagerating the place of commercials on MSN: propaganda reduce advertising space a lot.
  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:02PM (#7006708) Homepage Journal []

    A search for Dilbert [] Images

    A search for Linux [] Images

    A search for Hot Grits []

    A search for Natalie Portman []

    Hell, [] uses GIS to refer to the results of a Google Image Search.

    Seems MS is once again playing catch up and pretending it's a new idea.
  • by dema ( 103780 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:05PM (#7006730) Homepage
    My first MSN image search will of course be: Bill Gates +pie
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:05PM (#7006733) Homepage Journal
    Google's second main feature, right after it's great search capability, is simplicity. (Actually, these two features are strongly interrelated.)

    Knowing MS, they will screw this all to hell with stupid wizards, options, drop down menus, Clippy, etc. Have you seen their "Files and Folders" search in XP, compared to Win98 and 2k? They tried to make it user friendly, but for me, it's harder to use!

  • Let's see... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @03:53PM (#7007245)
    A battle between Microsoft and Google over search engine dominance. Who will win?

    Hmmmmm... What advantages does each side have? Google has current dominance in the web search market. Microsoft has the ability to bundle its search technology into IE which it integrates into 98 percent of all desktops running on the planet.

    Will the fact that this would be illegally leveraging its monopoly power on the desktop stop them? Doubtful. If their past behavior is any indication.

    So in this contest it will be: Google 0, Microsoft 1.

    Its been nice knowing you Google. You'll be able to sue but as our court system has shown, even if you win Microsoft will be allowed to profit from your demise.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @04:34PM (#7007673)
    This got me thinking. It would be nice if there were some meta tag like the

    meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow"

    tag to keep just Microsoft from indexing your site, maybe like

    meta name="borg" content="noindex,nofollow".

    Then I realized there already is one. To keep Microsoft from indexing your website but still let Google and other search engines index the site, use this meta tag:

    meta name="Keywords" content="Linux"

  • by rifter ( 147452 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @04:58PM (#7007892) Homepage
  • MSN Search won't fly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Friday September 19, 2003 @10:39PM (#7009906) Homepage

    MSN Search won't replace Google for one reason: MS is constitutionally incapable of leaving their own interests, financial and otherwise, out of the results. People prefer one search engine over another mainly based on whether it returns accurate, unbiased, relevant results, and keeps the paid-for stuff out of the way of the actual results. MS won't be able to resist trying to "improve" things by putting the paid-for listings in with the results (where they're more likely to be clicked on, and therefore more valuable to Microsoft because they can be sold for a higher price), biasing the results in favor of their own sites (which would result in increased value for Microsoft for those sites) and so on. Given alternatives, people will tend to migrate towards the one that gives priority to their interests and away from the one that considers their interests secondary.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault