Google bings and Microsoft rides on high waves

This can’t be a mere coincidence. The two stalwarts of IT industry Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) adamant at making a dent in each other’s bastion have catapulted themselves to a better position and the news of their new products have come at the same time.

Microsoft is targeting the “search overload” experienced by cyber denizens and calling its product a “decision engine” which would act as a savior from bizarre, free-associating responses that mimic the random results, search engines generate.

I took a shot at “Bing” with least expectations (quite disappointed by the predecessor –Live”) and found it quite promising. Three features that ‘binged’ me 

 

Microsoft Bing Search

Microsoft Bing Search

  •  Explorer pane – Bing’s new look focuses on a left hand navigation menu called the Explorer Pane. This extra column of content includes Quick Tabs that break searches down into Web Groups relevant to your search.
  • Sneak Preview – You can get a glimpse of the page before you click on it. It is not obtrusive and still does its job. On top of it, you can see the links on that page and that really saves you one more click. For ex: If I want to go to “Admissions” link on a University I can do so now with just one click.
  • Fine tuned and logically grouped search results for most of my queries. For example when I searched for U2 – its shows me results grouped by Images followed by links grouped by general, U2 songs, U2 tickets, U2 merchandise, U2 downloads, U2 interviews, Videos of U2 and finally usage statistics. Well that really makes my life easier as I can easily skip most of the links if I wish to buy tickets for a U2 concert.

In spite of these improvements, I still feel there is not much that would entice a normal user to overcome the inertia. “Adoption” is going to be the biggest hurdle for “Bing”.

Biggest problem I found with Bing was that in endeavor of giving more meaningful results, its forgetting the core functionality that is to search. Bing fails to crawl to all the pages that are present on the web. Another disappointing feature was unrelated sponsored links.

Google Wave

Google Wave

Google showcased its Web-based collaboration/ communication tool – Wave at the Google I/O developer’s conference recently. The Google team, led by Rasmussen brothers, developed the application to allow people to communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and other tools in a real time.

The product lets you create a wave, which often starts with instant messaging, and then you can add people to it. Popularly touted as next gen of email, it also brings live server forms, open protocol, drag n drop file upload, integration with blog, orkut, twitter, language conversion and most importantly live collaborative editing.

The major leap is contributing this innovation to the open source community. This will surely foster innovation and adoption in developer community.

On the other side, what makes me worried is the confusion that would be easily created while collaborating with a team of 10+. Imagine a conversation being modified by more than 5 people at the same time. Moreover I am terrified at the thought of somebody reading my typing or grammatical mistake. People even do copy paste while using IM that would be just so difficult with Google wave.

But one thing that may work against “Wave” is its complexity that is in complete contrast to the simplicity that is the trademark of Google products.

Though these products have an uphill task ahead, let me clarify once for all that Wave and Bing have definitely upped the ante by their own standards. The problem is that they don’t offer something that is compelling enough to force the traditional users to move from what they are using. I use “Google” for search and “Microsoft’s Sharepoint” for collaboration needs and looking at whatever I am able to digest so far I would continue with them at least for next few years.

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4 responses to this post.

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  2. What binged me was their video feature…
    do a vidio search and then scroll the mouse over any result…
    it shows the first 5 secs then 5 secs after some interval and all the way till the end….
    you can actually get a gist of what it contains in a few secs…

    i checked in google to see if they have this feature or not…didnt find it….
    Bings a pretty decent JOB…..
    they need to hit google …as googles coming up with chrome OS also now :)….
    i heard they are comin into enterprise portals also to compete with sharepoint

    Reply

  3. Posted by Sapan on August 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Will Microsoft bing beat Google’s caffeine?

    Take a poll on http://linkindians.blogspot.com

    Reply

  4. Posted by Chris on November 25, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Hey,
    I’m not that big google fan but I think you missed the huge part of idea behind google wave 😉
    It has completely other purpose than Sharepoint. Sure it’s sbout a collaboration but not in a office meaning 😉 it’s more like a unformal collaboration tooll. Just like you use MS Office Communicator to talk with work buddies and some other IM to chat with your non IT frientds.
    Beside that it was shown on the video that all spelling mistakes are corrected on fly and if your concerned about the gramatical ones you can also disable that feature off 😉
    Thanks for this article anyway it was really good lecture 🙂
    Cheers!

    Reply

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