Google, Microsoft in Search Showdown: A Must-See for 2005
Opinion: While the search battle may not be the upcoming year's most important one, it will definitely be the most interesting. Will 2005 be the year that Microsoft catches up with Google on search?Its always amazing to me the number of people at Microsoft who are working in a come-from-behind situation. To outsiders, its easy to focus on Microsofts big wins: operating systems and desktop applications. But inside Microsoft, its the new initiatives that take center stage, and this is where Microsoft as often as not has its back to the wall. As I look forward to 2005, one of these battles looks really interesting. Its not the most significant Microsoft effort for next year, but it has the potential to change how almost all of us search for information online. Its the battle between Google (on the offensive) and Microsoft (on the defensive) for the titles of worlds best and most popular search engines. I separate the titles since one company may not win them both. And while its unlikely that a third company will challenge the two big players for popularity in 2005, there remains a strong prospect that some third, fourth or fifth player will win the "best search engine" title. Probably not in 2005 and perhaps not before being acquired by MS or Google, but its important to keep our eyes open.
Also, notice that I said this would be the most "interesting" story to watch. Google versus Microsoft is a fun story, but barring some dramatic development elsewhere, the most important story in 2005 will be securitythe topic of a future column.