MSN Search Gains Ground

The Seattle Times has a nice summary of the new MSN search engine. The report looks at the many failures, successes and the continued developments.

I like MSN and think its a solid search engine but feel it has a long way to go before it can ever close the gap with Google. This report seems to confirm that. Here are some interesting quotes from the MSN summary.

A few months ago, when asked why the company had used technology from rivals to run its search engine, he admitted something rarely heard from Microsoft’s top brass: "We were stupid as hell."

Microsoft didn’t just miss the boat in search technology. It missed the dock.

Critics seemed to like MSN’s offering, but most acknowledged that it would take more from MSN to topple Google from its perch.

"It’s a good product, but it is not at the same level as Google or even Yahoo yet," said Safa Rashtchy, an analyst covering the search industry for Piper Jaffray. MSN needs to boost the relevancy of its search results even more, he said.

So far, MSN’s new search engine hasn’t caused a vast market shift, but it appears to be growing in use faster than Google. From January to March, according to research firm Nielsen/NetRatings, Google’s market share went from 47.1 percent to 47.3 percent while MSN’s went from 12.8 percent to 13.6 percent.

Put aside for a moment the features and technical competency of each, and MSN has another barrier to hurdle: People are deeply devoted to Google.

Google has what Rashtchy calls the Kleenex factor: It is so well known that people say "Google" when they mean "search."

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