It’s just amazing to me that Microsoft has continued with a failed search strategy, even after it’s apparent to EVERYONE (including Microsoft’s CFO) that what they are doing isn’t working. Hint: it ain’t gonna work, even if they flush another billion or two down the “copy Google” toilet.
So, what should their strategy be? Go for a little cut against Google. Don’t try to attack Google’s castle head on. That won’t work. Instead, flank them.
Start by surrounding Google with lots of niche engines. Technorati showed the way three years ago, even though Google has largely caught up now, by doing Blog Search, which was something that Google didn’t do well (still doesn’t really: if someone wants to find a blog on, say, Scrapbooking, what search engine really gives a nice set of blogs? Neither Technorati, nor Google’s blog search engines do.
But, there’s another engine that’s showing a way to start building a more successful search strategy: Krugle.
Buy it, and buy it now.
Why? Cause it’s a search engine for developers. Go talk to Steve Ballmer about that one. Remember him screaming “developers, developers, developers?” Well, Krugle delivers.
Krugle does something demonstratable that Google does not do: searches code and indexes it and helps developers in a real, demonstrable way.
Here’s an example. If you’re a Windows programmer you probably will need to look up some API name, like “DestroyWindow,” to learn more about it. Krugle’s search for DestroyWindow not only has links to the proper MSDN page, but shows off book mentions and code, and links to examples of its use in code.
I keep hearing about Krugle from developers. They tell me it rocks for looking up stuff. Need shopping cart code? Search for it on Krugle. Now compare that to Google/Yahoo/MSN.
Now, I can hear you now “developers don’t matter to search engines.”
Oh, yeah? When I visit Google there’s a huge plasma screen that shows every Google search done in real-time (it only shows that a search was done, not what the search was about). Everytime I look at that screen Redmond, WA does more Google searches than most other large cities in the world and does more Google searches than the entire continent of Africa.
Hint: there’s not much in Redmond except for Microsoft. So, what are all those Microsofties doing on Google?
I bet they are doing searches for technical information and looking for code samples, error names, algorithm tips, and API names.
I remember talking to tons of developers on the Windows team about why they love Google: it was the best engine three years ago, by far, to look up information on Microsoft’s own Web site!
That brand love for Google spread from geeks and developers to others in society. Don’t underestimate the influence that developers have here. YOUR OWN DEVELOPERS MICROSOFT!!!
So, start small. Don’t try to be Google. Why don’t you buy Krugle, get a position in search, then build on that?
It sure couldn’t hurt. What you’re doing now sure ain’t working.