Microsoft looks at Windows dominance to give its search engine an edge
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 29 Sep 2004 at 11:17
A source at Microsoft let slip yesterday that Redmond's work on a home-grown search engine is focussed on using Windows to give it the edge.
While stalwarts such as Google and Yahoo! continue to add new services to their search engines, both are keeping a close eye on what Microsoft is brewing up in this arena.
It may be difficult to see where Microsoft can take search: after all, as deep as its pockets are, there are only so many pages out there to index, and once you've done that, added in a sponsored links feature and so on you're going to end up with something difficult to distinguish from anything else out there.
Redmond has been very cagey about what its plans are for a home-grown search engine, but what it does have over its rivals is the operating system used on more than 90 per cent of the world's PCs. And that operating system contains a whole heap of information on the likes, dislikes and preferences of the user - information that could be included as 'metadata' to influence search results and make them more relevant.
With such a search, if you typed in 'cheap flights' and you had a surfing history in your browser of visiting sites related to Spain and had perhaps installed language software to help you learn Spanish, then results that contained flights to Spain would rank higher - at least that's our theory.
Certainly a source at Microsoft told us that yes, we were on the right lines - the most concrete comment we've had regarding Microsoft's search strategy.
It makes more sense when you consider the rumours surrounding Google building a browser. The company registered the gbrowser.com site in April and filed patent applications for showing ads on client-side applications, such as a Web browser or browser plug-in.
Going client-side may well be the new frontier for search, but Microsoft will be counting on owning the operating system to give it a distinct advantage.
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