Google is the default search engine on Macs for a good reason. It’s the most popular search engine in the world. Call Google the defacto default search and you won’t get much of an argument from anyone. Except Microsoft. For whatever reason, the Windows maker is making yet another run at toppling Google from their perch as King of Search. Since the last search barrage, the oddly named Microsoft Live Search, Microsoft has learned a thing or two. But have they learned anything new?
In short, Yahoo! once owned the ranks of search engines, only to lose out to Google years ago. Microsoft, always a serious player, has never done well in search, either search usage or advertising revenue.
Google rules both. Microsoft is jealous. It’s as simple as that. Almost.
Does Google have a weakness? Sure. Search sucks. Results are spotty potty. It takes lots of work to find good search results. Frankly, it’s always been that way.
A Better Way
Microsoft thinks search can be better, and, for once, I agree with Microsoft. Search can and should be better.
But it’s not, and Microsoft’s chances to make Bing a big success and topple Google are as slim as Kirstie Alley is thick. Not because Google doesn’t have a weakness. They do. Search sucks.
Microsoft doesn’t have a better way and they don’t have the discipline exercised by their PC nemesis, Apple.
People with knowledge of the planned push said the ads won’t go after Google, or Yahoo for that matter, by name. Instead, they’ll focus on planting the idea that today’s search engines don’t work as well as consumers previously thought by asking them whether search (aka Google) really solves their problems.
In other words, Microsoft’s better way is to spend money on advertising. Does that remind you of the Get a Mac television commercial where John Hodgman spends lots of money for advertising Vista instead of fixing Vista?
It’s the Brand, Stupid
Apparently Google ran some tests on search engine users. They stuck the Google logo on other search engine web pages. The users always preferred Google’s results to any other results.
It’s the brand. Microsoft aims to dent Google’s juggernaut stranglehold on search engine users with a branding campaign.
Apparently, search results just don’t matter. Ask the folks at Ask.com, arguably the better of the major search engines. I love Ask. My friends love Ask. Most people love Google.
Why would people switch from Google to Microsoft’s Bing? I’m betting they won’t, because, to most users, search results don’t appear to vary much from one search engine to another.
So, why bother to switch? Search will still suck.
The problem here isn’t so much search or the advertising market as it is discipline.
Microsoft could take a few lessons in discipline from Apple. As much as the Cupertino Mac maker would like a much larger market share, the only way to do that is to lower prices and profits on the Mac.
Apple is too disciplined, too focused, too sure of itself to be enticed to do something stupid, while Microsoft does stupid things so often they’re numbed, therefore, perpetuate their missteps ad nauseam.
The entertainment value of watching Microsoft screw up in one new business venture after another cannot be overstated.
On the other hand, Apple continues to defy common techno media pundit logic by avoiding the problem filled moats which surround the markets everyone wants Apple to move into except Apple.
The Mouse Trap
Mark my words, branding is one thing, a better mouse trap is something else.
Unless someone builds a better search mouse trap, and runs it through a very expensive branding campaign, five years from now Google will still be perched on top of search.
Hey, Apple software is known and loved by millions of Mac users, Windows PC users, and the brand is nearly as well known as Google. How about this? Apple should build a search engine to compete with Google and throw CEO Eric Schmidt off the Apple board.
It could happen. When pigs fly.