Forbes.com is running a poll on the occasion of Microsoft's launch of MSN Search asking readers what their favorite search enginer/service is. No surprise, it's Google by a mile, followed by Yahoo, followed by MSN.
Forbes.com: Which Search Engine Is The Best?
From the handful of searches I ran on MSN yesterday, I'd say Microsoft has a long way to go, not necessarily based on any keen insights into their methodology, but on the fact that I find the MSN site butt-ugly and cluttered beyond belief compared to good old spare Google.
Charles Ferguson had a great piece in the MIT Technology Review in December on the Microsoft/Google battleplan. It says it better than any other analysis, given Ferguson's front row seat at Vermeer (developer of WYSIWIG web builder Frontpage) during Microsoft's call to action against Netscape. He builds a plausible scenario for how the battle for dominance in search will come down to a classic architectual platform battle, with ISVs and APIs becoming the arsenal.
Microsoft knows that game.
I'd like to link to the Ferguson article, but even me, a paid subscriber to the digital Zinio edition of the Tech Review, can't get the to the piece. Maybe Charles did the world a favor and has it posted elsewhere. I'll chase it down.
Walter Wriston passed away on Jan 21 at the age of 85. While a banker, he was one of the smartest people on the subject of networks (up there with George Gilder) I've known, and amazingly presicent when discussing the impact of networks on quaint old notions of sovereignty and geography.
He was a banker, the father of electronic banking, the man who initiated the revolution that included ATMs and eventually online banking services. The former chairman of Citicorp, he wrote a book, The Twilight of Sovereignty, that influenced most of my thinking about the potential impact of communications networks. Based on his observations of how, in the late 60s, currency traders were able to wrest control over setting the value of any nation's currency from its Minister of Finance, and "vote", in real-time, thanks to the first international trading networks, Wriston came to the conclusion that old notions of borders and geography were doomed.
The rise of the European Union and the Euro were predicted by him. Telecommuting was predicted by him. He wasn't a geek, didn't go on about doped erbium amplifiers and dark fiber, jjust the big picture.
I had the pleasure of knowing him when he served on the board of Forbes.com. He was a very wise man. Here is Steve Forbes' tribute.
The Twilight of Sovereignty : How the Information Revolution Is Transforming Our World. I highly recommend it.