Interpreting the Microsoft Song about Mobile Search

September 17, 2009

I learned that has almost 11 percent of the Web search market. That’s good. Competition in Web search can be useful. I spent some time looking at Hakia’s librarian-intermediated search results, (an interesting search engine from an individual in southern California), and a wheelbarrow full of European search systems. There are a couple of quite useful search systems and quite a few that a heavy on glitz and weak in usefulness to me. Armed with these recent experiences, I read The Register’s article “Microsoft Targets Google’s Mobile Dream with Bing”. The writing was clear, and I assume the message I carried away was close to what Microsoft’s Charles Songhurst intended. I read:

Microsoft had internalized a lot of what Google has been saying” in recent years on mobile search being worth more than PC-based search.

My interpretation was: Microsoft is studying Google and, where possible, trying to think like Google to beat Google.

I also noted:

He [Songhurst] noted Microsoft wants to get the search algorithms right for each market before promoting Bing locally. A key component of the Microsoft deal to buy Yahoo! is that Bing drives search in the markets served by Yahoo! during the next 10 years, which will give Microsoft time to build and tune the Bing algorithms to improve searches and returns.

My interpretation was: Microsoft is focusing on algorithms just like Google. Furthermore, the time line for Microsoft and search is 10 years. The push will conclude in 2019.

I have been documenting Google’s changes in public search such as the nifty “ig” (individualized Google) functions. I also try to mention the enterprise innovations that I think are important in that sector such as the WAC attack; that is, Wave, Android, and Chrome with Google Apps along for the joy ride.

The challenge Microsoft has is that emulating Google and learning from Google is not what is needed. The task is to leap frog Google. Google’s core technology is over 11 years old and Microsoft is focusing on that collections of innovations. One cannot shoot a goose (heaven forbid) with a shotgun by aiming directly at the fowl. One must shoot where the goose will be when the pellets arrive to kill the beastie. Microsoft is shooting at the Google, not where the Google is going. The 10 year time line is two Soviet five year plans. Didn’t work in the USSR. Won’t work at MSFT in my opinion.


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