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MSN will beat Google in the long run, because they have Browser and Windows software.
And don't forget that Google is going to be progressing all the while. And when they go public, that'll buy Google even more time to fend off Microsoft (and Yahoo).
But yeah, I think gradually Microsoft will catch up in time. It took Google 5 years to get where they are. Will it take that long for Microsoft? I suspect it will take them even longer. And I don't think they will surpass Google as Google has surpassed everyone else. The industry will have 3-4 top search engines (4th being Teoma) instead of 1 top search engine.
But I think it will lead the SE world because look at all the Microsoft Products: Windows, Word, Office , IE, Windows Media Player , MovieMaker , Picture It!, PowerPoint and Bla Bla Bla. They are all leading the world. That's why Msn could add their shortcut bars and stuff to Windows and IE, this will bring them visitors.
I know that Microsoft only releases a Product , if its Happy with it (Except for Windows ME) I think the current MSN Search (Inktomi results) is Bogus. You only get results in 100's and it doesn't capture a lot of text from the page, this is Because I think Microsoft was in a hurry or something, they didn't have time, so they decided to take Inktomi results, thats why it's not good because Microsoft didn't make it!
But though, I can't wait for a new Microsoft Product to be in the Web.
I'm not saying they are going to be the next Google, but I'm glad that MSN is stepping up the pressure. It means better search for all of us. If they top Google, I will be glad that there is such a good search engine available. Will I use it? Hell no :) I'll still use Google and hope they catch up again. I welcome Microsoft's competition but personally I'd love to see them get beat.
I know they will put out a good search engine eventually though. So if they don't beat Google, I'll be glad they put the pressure on Google to become that much better themselves.
But for me the difference is this: Google has always been driven by Search. Microsoft has always been driven by Money.
What will be interesting and fun to watch is how much each company leans in the opposite direction down the road. Will going public force Google to focus on the bottom line ahead of the product? Will MSFT be willing to ignore the bottom line in order to develop a world-class search engine?
Google appears to be very far along the path to monetizing search without alienating its customers -- both its user/search customers and its business/advertiser customers.
MSFT's challenge will be to find that path and play catch up as quickly as they can.
Ultimately their "time to catch up to anyone" is based around the PC upgrade cycle and the software upgrade cycle. If everyone moves/changes PC's and/or OS's every few years, ultimately they phase into their new software and phase out their old by eliminating certain backwards compatibilities. Consider the upgrdaes from office -- suddenly your office 2000 documents don't work on earlier versions of office unelss you save them differently -- you can get it to work, but only if you are paying atention at early adoption time.
But you know, if you think about it, their first algorithm won't NEED to be perfect. People won't care who's better as long as MSN is good enough and as easily accessible as we expect it to be.
That makes me wonder what Google is up to. You know they're thinking of ways to get around it. lol what if Linux started featuring Google Search from it's desktop? Google is all for free search, Linux is open source... or I wonder if the Google toolbar will be programmed to dock somewhere on the users screen instead of being integrated into IE. Also, you can already configure Windows to display certain webpages on your desktop. I wonder if Google will advertise something like this "Click here to add Google to your desktop". Any other ideas?
Without giving specifics, Payne said Microsoft's research department is devoting significant resources to the company's search project.Microsoft Says It's Investing Heavily in Web Search [story.news.yahoo.com]
"We think there's massive headroom left in this category. There are a lot of searches that can be better," said Payne, who added that search represents great revenue opportunities for Microsoft and its advertisers.
About 50 million unique users hit MSN with search queries each month, Payne said.
Got to face facts with facts. Bill Gates is a long term player. Under his and/or Ballmer's watch, the company lies low just until their competition thinks they cannot be beat, and then.. WAM! MSFT comes out of no where, and usually is undetected until it is to late. Google may be king now, but its hay day will end eventually once they are forced to go head to head with MSFT (I.E. Apple, IBM).