Two of London’s free newspapers for commuters (Metro and The London Paper) are featuring wrap-around ads for Microsoft’s Windows Live Live Search today. The front page is almost entirely blank, save for a search box which asks “Does the world really need another search engine?”:
As Google and Yahoo! have once again extended their lead on Microsoft in the search engine rankings and Google has become the most visited website in the UK, I have to wonder if Microsoft should be asking themselves the same question. It’s all very well emphasising the extra features that Live Search offers – like controlling the size of the results on a single page, hovering over images for more detail, providing bird’s eye views to accompany maps and directions (all very well for pilots and birds, but not so useful on the ground) and personalising results; however, of all organisations, Microsoft should be well aware that it’s not necessarily the product with the best feature set that gains the most market share. Having said that, Google came from nowhere a few years back – and who uses the pioneering Lycos, Excite and Altavista search engines today?
Live Search is certainly impressive and Microsoft’s ads state that:
“To us, search is in its infancy. This is just the start.”
Maybe Live Search will push Google into doing some work to integrate their disparate Web 2.0 applications (many of which seem to be in a perpetual beta state); in the meantime, the message seemed to be lost as I observed commuters at Canary Wharf – one of London’s major commercial centres – simply flicking past the four full page ads to get to the news.