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11/07/2009 by
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Who’s The Real Copycat: Microsoft or Google?

Microsoft, the software giant from Redmond, was born in 1975 as Micro-Soft, a partnership between two high school friends, Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Since then Microsoft dominated the operating market for PC’s. Today, powerhouse Google seems to copy Windows with its Google Chrome. And Microsoft seems to copy Google with its search engine Bing. Now, who is the real copycat…?

bing_vs_google

Let’s take a look at both products from Google and Microsoft…


Google Chrome
Apple proves that many people easily lose patience with PCs that are slow to start up and prone to crashing, vulnerable to virus attacks and constantly in need of fiddly updates. Hoping to turn that irritation to its advantage, Google is developing an operating system — the underlying software that handles the most basic functions of a computer.

Google Chrome

With the software, Google is mounting a blunt challenge to the dominance of Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs about 95 percent of PC’s. Google promises that its Chrome operating system, which will be available on computers in the second half of next year, will put an emphasis on speed, simplicity and security.

Google faces enormous hurdles. Computing giants like I.B.M. and Sun Microsystems have spent years trying to dethrone Microsoft, with little to show for it.

But if it gains traction, Google’s plan could undermine not only Windows but also Microsoft’s other multibillion-dollar franchise, Office. Google is trying to put the Web browser at the center of people’s digital lives, relegating complicated operating systems like Windows to a secondary role.

The new software’s primary mission will be to run Google’s Chrome browser, which will serve as a quick on-ramp to Web sites and online applications like Gmail and Facebook.

To be honest, I do not feel that the history of operating systems should give Google much hope. However, I think Microsoft will follow Google’s Chrome initiatives seriously. As independent and neutral professional I give Google a 10% chance to succeed.

Microsoft Bing
And now we have yet another me-too effort. It’s something called Bing, and it’s the latest iteration of Microsoft’s multiyear attempt to imitate Google.

Microsoft Bing

The name, presumably, is supposed to evoke the sound of a winning game-show bell. The cynics online, however, joke that Bing is an acronym for “But It’s Not Google.”

And Microsoft hopes Bing, eventually becomes a verb, like Xerox and, well, Google. But here’s the shocker, though: in many ways, Bing is better than Google’s search engine. That’s quite a statement…

But check it out yourself. It’s easy to compare the two, thanks to sites like bing-vs-google.com. Here, you’re shown search results from both Bing and Google, side by side, on a split screen.

At first, Bing is pretty much Google. Oh, there’s a big National Geographic-y photo on the home page instead of plain white, but otherwise it’s the same deal: a search box; a menu that offers to complete what you’re typing; and inconspicuous links to Images, Videos, News, Shopping and Maps.

Once you hit Enter, however, you can’t help noticing Bing’s more concerted effort to get you answers faster. To minimize the clicking, the hunting, the dead ends.

For starters, how’s this for a dream feature? Point to any search result without clicking; a pop-up balloon shows you the first few paragraphs of text on it. Without leaving the results list, you know if it’s going to be helpful. Simple and irresistible.

Here’s another example. On Google, search results usually appear as a long list of blue text links. Occasionally, a photo appears, too. Or, if there’s only one possible answer for your query (weather, stock price, sports scores, street address), you get that answer right at the top: a five-day weather forecast, a stock chart, game scores, a street map. In those cases, you don’t have to click through to anything on the search results list.

Bing does all that, too. But it also expands those “let me make sense of this for you” results — in a big, beautiful, very successful way — by introducing a new panel to the left of the search results.

To be honest, I do feel that the history of search engines should give Microsoft more hope. So again as independent and neutral professional I give Microsoft a 25% chance to succeed.

How do you see the chances for Google Chrome and Microsoft Bing?

Source: The New York Times

 

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