King Kaufman is a sports writer who says he reads Scripting News to learn about football. That's one of the highest compliments someone can pay me, cause I often think in terms of football analogies when it comes to tech. |
So here's a football analogy! ...
Google and Microsoft are playing a game of football in a stadium called Search. My guess is that Google doesn't think they're actually playing a game, or if they do, they aren't worried about Microsoft gaining any significant yardage. Kind of like the way Alabama beat LSU earlier this week.
They might be right, but Google is letting one of Microsoft's wide receivers go uncovered. You'd think if Microsoft was smart they'd throw the ball to him and see if perhaps it might turn into a touchdown.
Here's the deal. Google's search is getting cluttered with pointless crap. I think they forgot that when Google launched all the existing search engines were similarly cluttered, and they offered two things. 1. Something really nice called Page Rank and 2. No clutter.
Now I'm pretty sure that Google thinks their magic, whatever that might be, will keep people using Google no matter how much crap they shovel onto the search page. Maybe that was true up to a point, but Google is now over the line. A search engine that did two things would get me to at least seriously try it (and nothing has been able to do that for me since Google rolled out in 1998). Here are the two things.
1. A super-clean bare-bones interface.
2. A bonded promise that it will stay that way forever.
The bonded part is important. I don't think anyone should switch or even think of switching unless the move was irreversible. It has to be that way forever. We could agree to some small amount of advertising on the search results, in the right margin, and clearly labeled. But beyond that, nothing but search results and whitespace.
The bond would have to be something that hurt if they gave it up. A lot of cash put in escrow to be paid to the ACLU or NASA or split among 15 universities. Something like that. A very large amount of money. Otherwise we'd be crazy to give them a chance, they would just bait and switch us.
I wonder if Microsoft has ever done a study to see how many people switched from Windows to Mac because of all the shovelware and malware that was inundating Windows? I bet it was a lot of people. I promise you that's why I switched. I don't think the Mac is any easier to use. Except there are no viruses. My Windows machine was impossible to use because of all the crap.
Google is now in the same place. Enough is enough. Is anyone going to step up and take advantage of their mistake?
Do you think that google made a mistake?