Microsoft and Ethics – Get Some Google Search Share at Any Cost

Microsoft142 Microsoft and Ethics – Get Some Google Search Share at Any Cost
Baron Turner asked:


With the majority of the rich world now having upgraded to IE7, did Google notice the way Microsoft have stolen search share? Did WE notice? Search engine optimisation international specialists are buzzing. In IE7 there is now an embedded web search facility in the toolbar at the ‘top right’ of the browser. Whilst Google can be selected as the search provider, did we think Microsoft would give up the search currency so easily? Not the same people that knocked Netscape into a cocked hat and into the sidelines of connected world control. But with world on constant alert of the software giant’s malpractice, it can’t be too high in profile. They chose a perfect way to unethically get people to stray from Google.
How they did it

How? By not allowing the selection of a ‘regional’ Google as the search provider. Let’s take the case of a searcher in Canada. When searchers use Google.com for their searches they get a set of results. If they travelled across the border to the US, using Google.com for the same search would yield a different set of results again (some similarities, but different). Now back in Canada the user searches using Google.ca and gets different results again – this time the best optimised set of results. He’s in Canada and Google.ca is built for Canada and delivers the best results (Google.com gives results somewhere between the two because of the overwhelming recognition of .com as a first stop for many domains). The fact that for USA searchers it makes no difference at all gives Microsoft a leading time for regional users to become dissatisfied with the search leader Google before it’s flagged up as a ‘bug’. It’s a perfect mechanism to accomplish their plan of shifting some of that persisting favour Google has amongst web users.

Why don’t they just switch to local Google?

You can try it. Selecting different search providers takes you to Microsoft’s web site from where you get a choice of providers. If you need a regional Google, you have to jump through hoops which the vast majority will not do. But even if they do, the selection doesn’t persist across browser sessions. Microsoft have to allow users to select a different search provider, who knows – someone may even want to use MSN. But the selection is only available from the broad companies – MSN, Yahoo, Google, Ask, etc. These other main search engines (Yahoo, MSN and Ask) have redirects in place that provide local results just as if they were using yahoo.co.uk, yahoo.ca, etc. Google is on their own in the way they provide regional results. Perfect then. Microsoft put up with Yahoo, but bitterly **** the Google that some of their best people are defecting to. The IE7 browser upgrade doesn’t permit people to easily select Google.ca (or other region) as their search provider – and even successfully jumping through the hoops they provide doesn’t allow the selection to persist. Users aren’t going to bother – over time they’ll notice the sub-optimal results but not work out why, they won’t see this search turf issue. They’ll go elsewhere – right into the arms of the next two – Yahoo and MSN.

The solution

Who know the best way for Google to beat this? But first they need to recognise it – we doubt they even know. Effecting a solution could start the first search world war. Consider the most blood curdling solution – Google developing their own browser. Could Microsoft ‘netscape’ it? Google have nearly as much money as Microsoft and so could fight them legally equally – but what would the famous Microsoft fighting with ‘time’ produce (as with Netscape)? Other solutions? Google could skew results locally when searching through this toolbar facility, so that effectively users would be seeing the same results as the google.co.uk or google.ca they should be using. Google could show nothing, no results at all for searches originating through this IE7 toolbar. Google could do what the other engines have done – show the same results for regional uses of .com as those searched for using google.co.uk (etc.), or redirect IP ranges to their regional engine.

Microsoft have skewed the results for searches outside the USA. It may seem minor, but companies in other countries don’t show up when searched for through the Microsoft utility – a solution is needed – wake up Google – work on this one.



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