Barney Pell, CEO of Powerset (a company that’s building a new kind of search engine) tells me that Microsoft has caught up to Google in search relevancy (he was at the Bil conference yesterday). There are companies that are paid to track such things and he’s been watching their reports.
That made me realize that I haven’t tried a search over on Microsoft’s Live.com lately.
It also might explain why Microsoft wants to purchase Yahoo.
After all, let’s say that it’s correct that Microsoft is about to pass Google in relevancy. Would anyone switch? No. Not until they demonstrate that Microsoft is dramatically better than Google.
But, what if they combined Yahoo and Microsoft’s search result quality? And put Yahoo’s brand name on it?
Now I am starting to understand a little why this merger makes Google nervous (at least publicly).
I just don’t believe the relevancy reports, though. I did a single search on something I know about, CERN, and Google’s list is more useful and more relevant than Microsoft’s. Plus, I know how to pull things back out of Google that I’ve written on my blog. In my experience Microsoft’s engine isn’t nearly as good at that task, which will keep any blogger from singing Microsoft’s praises.
But it really doesn’t matter, does it? Google is just so embedded in my brain that I don’t know what Microsoft could do.
Of course then I look at Mahalo and Wikipedia and I see exactly what I’d do if I were running the search team at Microsoft.
But, instead, Microsoft is going to waste billions of dollars trying to buy a better brand name than it already has.
Maybe Microsoft should just fire its marketing department and start rebuilding its brands from the ground up. Take a 10-year approach. That’d STILL be cheaper than $40 billion.
Oh, well. Yet another thing to ask Microsoft executives at Mix this week.