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by Stephen Logan on 29th May 2009
It’s been another big day of search engine news with both Google and Microsoft announcing new products. Possibly the biggest of these – certainly in a purist search capacity – was the announcement that, after some time in development and ditching the old Kumo title, Microsoft are almost ready to begin some tentative live tests before switching over to become the default search option on 3rd of June.
Microsoft Bing has been developed as an alternative to the conventional search engine and is instead optimised to help with general queries. It will eventually replace the current Live Search and should reenergise the flagging software giant’s online presence. The changes it introduces are sweeping, however those who have become accustomed to Google and the results it produces may be difficult to sway.
If nothing else it should act as a shot in the arm for Google and lead them away from complacency. There’s no doubting that it’s certainly a far more aesthetically pleasing interface than the old one, better equipped to deal with modern search requirements and even more usable; but can it be a Google-killer?
Inevitably, as soon as Microsoft made their big announcement on the arrival of Bing, Google reacted with a similarly eye-catching unveiling of their own – Google Wave. Having been in development for the past couple of years, Google Wave is almost ready to take its first tentative steps out into the big bad world of the Internet.
Wave is an extremely complicated, but potentially highly useful personal communication tool. It integrates media such as email and messaging services and allows for a far more interactive communicational experience for users. All your friends, shared folders and conversations can be stored neatly in this labyrinth of a programme. The live feed aspect of the programme, gives a far more contemporary feel to the slightly outdated messenger and email modes; bringing it in line with sites such as Friendfeed for social media sites.
Initially Google Wave will be released as a simple – in principle at least – communication tool. However plans are afoot to develop it further once the HTML 5 coding standard becomes universally accepted; paving the way to a whole bevy of exciting 3D applications, including movies and games. Some may see it is as simply reinventing the wheel, bundling all these existing packages into one. But the truth, it seems, is very different. It represents a seismic shift from the conventions that we’ve all become accustomed to, and could well cement Google’s place as the go-to site for future generations of Internet users.
So whilst Microsoft have undoubtedly rocked the search engine boat a little, Google’s retort seems to have quelled any talk of it being a genuine threat to their dominance. It’ll certainly be interested to see how both perform when they are finally released and what impact this will have on search and communication activities.