Danny Sullivan of the Search Engine Watch journal has a blog post entitled Google Worried About Microsoft's Browser Advantage? What Advantage? where he writes

I am nauseatingly exhausted by idea that Microsoft will conjure up some magical method of yanking people into its MSN Windows Live Whatever You Want To Call It search service via the Windows operating system or the Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft has failed for years to be successful in this, which is why it's amazing anyone would still believe it.

In the longer version of this post for Search Engine Watch members, I revisit the tired facts in more depth:

  • How search has been integrated into Windows and Internet Explorer since 1996 but failed to help Microsoft.
  • How even when MSN Search was made the default choice by 2001, Google still rose in traffic share.
  • How putting the search box into the "chrome" of the browser doesn't necessarily mean Microsoft will have a major win this time.
  • How search via toolbars still remain the minority of the way searches happen.

Meanwhile, skip past the business aspects. What about the consumer issue of choice? The New York Times writes of Google's preferred solution:

The best way to handle the search box, Google asserts, would be to give users a choice when they first start up Internet Explorer 7. It says that could be done by asking the user to either type in the name of their favorite search engine or choose from a handful of the most popular services, using a simple drop-down menu next to the search box. The Firefox and Opera browsers come with Google set as the default, but Ms. Mayer said Google would support unfettered choice on those as well.

Sure, I can get behind the "give people a choice from the beginning" idea. But if Google wants Microsoft to do that, then Google should make it happen right now in Firefox, which pretty much is Google's surrogate browser. If this is the best way for a browser to behave, then Google should be putting its weight on Firefox to make it happen. And Google should also ensure it does the same with Dell, where it has a partnership that I believe makes it the default search engine on new Dell computers.

There definitely has been a bunch of interesting commentary on this topic. Check it out on tech.memeorandum.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 5:57:23 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
my personal feeling is that it needs to be the set of Live services that drive people to use Live Search. Searching from within WLMail, WLMessenger, Live.com of course, and all others. Since it seems that search is the big money maker, they all need to be services that support the user searching with live search (or search.msn.com).

I think once Live.com gets all of the performance improvements Scott Isaacs said it would get and hopefully gets some UI imporvements, it will be a major force in converting people. I'm waiting until it gets a bit more intuitive and faster to introduce my entire family to it but I think it's a fabulous service.
Thursday, May 4, 2006 4:37:54 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What I don't get about the whole idea is that it ignores how Google started. It went from nothing to number one without any advantages over any of the established search engines and without any integration into anything. Indeed, its competitors at the time had all the advantages. What that says to me is that in this market, being the "default" or having the big name are pretty meaningless. Someone may well knock Google off the block, but they'll likely do it by giving better search results.
Friday, May 5, 2006 2:09:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What really got me to switch to Google was their simple homepage was really fast to load up. After then I started to notice their good results when compared to everyone else. I'm finding now though that their results are increasingly on par with both Yahoo or MSN (or visa versa).

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 12:28:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Google results are just better
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