Relevancy's Importance in Microsoft's Quest

Jul 2, 2004 • 5:40 pm | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Bing Search

Google is the number one search engine because of its search results. Google's search results (to the most part) are more relevant then all the other search engines. Every competing engine talks about how and why their search algorithms are better at bringing back more relevant search results then the next. Most say, that is why Google is the leader in the industry, they have more relevant results then the rest.

My question is, will relevancy make a difference when Microsoft enters the search race?

I am not questioning whether or not Microsoft can build a more relevant engine then Google or Teoma. What I am questioning is if Microsoft needs to build a more relevant or equally relevant engine.

Let's take two areas where Microsoft monopolizes on. The first is the operating system market. Is Windows a better and more user friendly operating system then Apple's OS X or Linux? I don't think so. How often do I hear people complaining about how stupid Windows is. All the complaints on computer crashes and issues with viruses or spyware make me sick. Why do you Windows people accept these issues? Why don't you switch to an Apple computer? Second example, Microsoft's Internet Explorer. In reality it is a poor example of a Web browser. All the IE exploits where a hacker can take over your computer and destroy all your files, simply because of a single exploit in IE. IE doesn't have tabbed browsing or other basic functions one can find in Firefox and other popular, non Microsoft, browsers. Why do you use IE?

The answers to these questions is that you use Microsoft products because you always had. Computers came out, it was easier and cheaper to buy a PC running Windows on it then to buy a PC with Linux or an Apple computer. Now that you have Windows pre-installed on your PC, hey, Internet Explorer is on it, so its easy and cheaper to use IE then an other browser.

I can see the same logic being used for MSN Search. There is no doubt in my mind that MSN Search one day will be built into the Windows OS. It will be easier and cheaper to use the built in and pre-installed MSN Search then to use Google, Ask or Yahoo. You'll "live with" less relevant results, because its easier and cheaper to use something that is pre-installed. And as MSN Search gains market share, the results will get worse and worse. Just like IE keeps getting worse and worse, as compared to the newer browsers available today. Why? Because Microsoft has captured the market and the searcher has no where else to go. Because its too hard to type in into my browser, I have MSN Search built into my OS.

I am afraid for the future of search, a future where relevancy does not matter as much.

Previous story: Apple Stepping into the Search Engine Battle



05/01/2006 04:41 pm

I don't really have any issues with the whole point of your article but you attack Windows as a horrible operating system and seem to think that Apple OS X and Linux would do much better if they were the primary one. Windows probably gets attacked the most because that's where the most sitting ducks are. If you were someone writing malicious software would you target it at the smallest user base? Hell no you wouldn't. Secondly, the general population probably couldn't do much of anything with Linux. Microsoft may be the "bad guy" but they have done a decent job making it easy on us - not having to hack a million lines of text config files. While it may be true that Microsoft software has vulnerabilities, I have been able to get along just fine with it and NO spyware or viruses or any other problem that anyone complains about. Spyware is due to morons that download spyware ridden software or allow strange ActiveX controls to be installed. Linux software is not without its vulnerabilities either - what about all those "security update" patches? I think the point I'm getting at is that people like to complain when things don't work. If they had linux, you'd probably hear something every day about how linux doesn't work, or they are extremely angry that their mouse won't work with Xorg because they don't know how to hack the xorg.conf file, or something equally inane. Don't blame Microsoft for providing us with a product that fits user needs. They didn't become the best by leaving people behind.

Jaimie Sirovich

05/02/2006 03:31 pm

Barry, Looking back at this post (yes, I know it's 2004), I have to disagree with some of what you said here. First, your MS bashing is a bit overboard here, and the reason Macs don't get exploited is because nobody cares about 2% of the market. This is beside the point, and, yes Apple's interface is much better. That said, it's not like Microsoft can, or does suck in the wars on OSes, nor can it or does it suck in the search engine wars. Both are examples of how being "decent," or, "good enough," is a valid market position. That, combined with market advantages and cunning will position them as #2 in the search engine market fairly soon, I think. Keep in mind, MS Search is very young, and MS's investors just got angry about MS's "questionable" spending on R&D for search. MS knows search is part of the future. And not only do they know this, but they're also massively annoyed and Google for poaching people from them. I think it will get interesting.

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