Steve Ballmer thinks he knows what’s wrong with Microsoft Search — or Live or MSN or whatever it’s called. Read:
ORLANDO, Fla.–Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer says the software giant has a long way to go to compete with Google, when it comes to search and advertising.
Microsoft is attempting to break into online advertising, but Ballmer admitted at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo here Wednesday that Microsoft is still an “aspirant” in the search and advertising fields.
If Microsoft really aspires to run a popular search engine, they could start with a search engine people might want to use. I’ll give you an example. The hot area in search right now is mapping. And what’s more fun than punching in your own address, and seeing what the satellites see? Go to maps.google.com, and you’ll see something like this:
(Click to embiggen all screencaps.)
Now type in your address, and you’ll get something like this:
Kinda fun, and the cool factor is way up there. So what if the arrow doesn’t point exactly to my house – I can still find it. From there, getting directions to somewhere else is just as easy, and the route adjusts itself to your wishes, by clicking-dragging to the street you’d rather take.
Microsoft’s Live Thingy is a little less exciting at first glance:
“Play with the amazing spelling chickens?” Really?
Then when you type in your home address, Live doesn’t seem to get what you mean:
So I tried again, using the term “house” in the mysterious, second search box provided above the one with my address in it. That got me this:
All I’m trying to do is show my friends how cool my house looks from space, and all Microsoft gives me is ads for stuff that have nothing to do with my search query. And it’s not like I’m a completely inexperienced computer user.
Bad results, ineffective ads. That’s livin’ Live, baby.