Google and Microsoft are locked in a battle which occasionally Yahoo and maybe AOL will get some time to “play in”. That battle is for supremacy in the Internet-“Freebie”- at-first on the desktop. Google has a huge lead on Microsoft in the very important Search engine game. Response time, volume of material available, convenience of the search, incorporation of local desktop into search, localization for specific metro/regiona areas plus the all important first starter lead are all advantage Google. But Amazon is sneaking up on the outside with the rights to search books; and there are enormous quantities of goverment and private data awaiting effective search retrieve and display technology which Google or Yahoo or MSN could do for a fee while gaining exclusive first distribution rights. And in the world of radio, video, music – nobody is dominate.
So even though the old MSN Search and the new Microsoft Search engine that emerged in mid-November have been greeted by analysts as reported in The Register as a “whuh??”. A Thudwhacker. And probably thats pretty close to the mark – still the search and display engine game is far from over. Advantage Google for now .. but no players are out of the game.
And the second round, on the free-email front ( and this gets Yahoo and AOL into the game), Googles Gmail scored a smashing 1 to zip score over all the other “free” eMailers as they nowrush to catchup with the 1GB size and functional niceties of Gmail.
But the latest round, of free workspaces, with Google Groups versus MSN Spaces look like a big trump for Microsoft although we have yet to hear from AOL which does not techically have a free service .. but why quibble. They are in the Internet server based workspace game. Now the dust has not cleared on whats fee and whats not and when things will be available … trust me Microsoft called MSN Spaces a Test for a real reason. Redmond undoubtedly cannot stand and deliver on all that they promise. But even with that proviso it looks like Microsofty has scored with GUI glitz and real functionality over Googles retread Usenet groups which looks like a Hobos worksprawl in comparison to MSN Spaces. Now I could be wrong – the two players may indeed be going after different markets (single user managed MSN Space blogs versus team oriented Google Groups) and players in the short term … but not the long haul. So – Microsoft scores a badly needed won … one just when I thought they were getting awfully tired and sloppy. Likewise, Google failed to land the knockout punch. Google seems to be punch drunk on GUI, either minimalist as in the case of Google, Froogle and Google Groups or unbelievably nice as in the case of Gmail. However, three wins in a row for Google would have staggered Redmond and have had all the geek gossip grinches wagging their tongues at the soon-to-be-has-been “innovators” at 1 Microsoft Way. The latter is a dangerous delusion – so perhaps it is better the score is 2-1 and not 3-0.