Gates Hopes To Beat Google At Its Own Game

    May 22, 2006

At a speech on the Microsoft campus, Bill Gates gave an outline of how the company hopes to compete with-and even outdo-the reigning search champ Google. These and other companies are vying for contracts to install search systems at businesses. A key component of Gates’s plan to succeed is the omnipresent Windows software.

Microsoft hopes to offer search tools that would protect workers from the abundance of information available. Gates predicted that office workers spend up to 30 percent of their computer time simply looking for information. “Faced with the endless deluge of data that is generated every second of every day, how can we hope to keep up?” he asked rhetorically. His answer, of course, is Microsoft’s own search tools.

One example is the Windows Live Search client, which will become available in test form this summer. This software will allow users to separately examine any of Microsoft’s four major search systems: Windows Desktop Search for PC hard drives, SharePoint Server for company networks, and MSN Search and Windows Live for the Internet.

Google is entering the fight with search algorithms in servers that businesses can install for themselves. The company’s OneBox APIs, introduced last month, can search through data in popular business applications. IBM also joined the fray, offering software that searches text fields, documents, and multimedia files, and can create statistics on business performance. Another competitor is the Intranet search company Fast Search & Transfer. Although not as well known as Google or IBM, this company has made deals with Deutsche Telekom, Getty Images, and UPS, and recently acquired data cleansing technology.

Google and Microsoft have both unveiled future plans for more complex, more integrated, and more powerful search systems. Despite his position as the underdog in this fight, which is in and of itself a true rarity, Gates seems confident. “It’s about not just finding the information, [but] are we using it, getting insights into it, sharing it with other people?” With Microsoft’s next generation of search software, he hopes to do just that.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.