Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Microsoft did what now?
November 2, 2005 11:09 AM   Subscribe

It's long been known that if you type "failure" into Google and hit "I'm feeling lucky", you get this page. Haha. Funny. The phenomenon is explained here. Now, Microsoft's live.com went public recently. Guess what page it returns as the number 1 result for "failure"?
posted by jon_kill (34 comments total)

 
Wow, that live.com looks great in Safari. Those Microsoft programmers are 3l1t3!!1!!
posted by Rothko at 11:15 AM on November 2, 2005


When this first came up with Google, it was just funny. Democrats hated Bush, but he wasn't really a failure. But now...
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on November 2, 2005


The real issue isn't whether Bush is a failure or not. You can refer to the rest of MetaFilter for the definitive and unanimous answer to that particular question.

The real issue is why these search results so closely resemble Google's?
posted by jon_kill at 11:19 AM on November 2, 2005


The real issue is why these search results so closely resemble Google's?

Because Microsoft copies successful technologies. Google's overall search algorithm is not entirely secret.
posted by Rothko at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2005


The real issue is why these search results so closely resemble Google's?

And the answer is... that they're using a similar algorithm? Would you rather use a search engine that gave you really bad search results?
posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2005


"Firefox Users
Firefox support is coming soon. Please be patient :-)"

how about i...don't?

anyway,
so is the general consensus here that microsoft has somehow stolen google's super-secret search algorithms, or that they've been able to reverse-engineer them to get pretty close, or that they just aren't that complex after all?

and at this point, do any of us use google primarily because the search tool is way better than, say, yahoo's, or is it because we like the aesthetic of their home page and think they make good free applications and consider ourselves loyal to the brand?

ps fuck microsoft
posted by radiosig at 11:30 AM on November 2, 2005


Would you rather use a search engine that gave you really bad search results?

No, I'd rather use Google, and I'd rather Microsoft actually try to compete with them.
posted by jon_kill at 11:31 AM on November 2, 2005


Come on, kids - the failure googlebomb is a hack of pagerank, which weights search results based on their link popularity. That's really the best model for search that we have these days - and ANY algorithm that uses the same set of data is likely to have the same weaknesses.

Which is to say that googlebombing is just linkweightedsearch-bombing. Everybody get's hit.
posted by metaculpa at 11:34 AM on November 2, 2005


No, I'd rather use Google, and I'd rather Microsoft actually try to compete with them.

How are they not competing with them? WTF? Wouldn't you expect them to come up with the same result for the same query, if they both used good algorithms? Oooh... the query for "metafilter" returns the same first result. They must be stealing google's secret sauce!
posted by delmoi at 11:39 AM on November 2, 2005


Because Microsoft copies successful technologies.

Precisely, and googles results are taken to be the search standard so any variance from googles results is, sort of by definition, taken to be an inaccuracy.

google's got it right, they are agnostically reflecting the opinion, right or wrong, of the web itself - if this means 'webmasters' have more influence than anyone else well, they're indexing the web
posted by scheptech at 11:45 AM on November 2, 2005


When I typed "FAILURE" into the weather forecasts box on Live.com, it suggested:

Worton, MD
Fairlee, VT
Oaktown, VA
Braganca, PRT
Natal, BRA
Fairlee, VT (again)
...
Dearborn, MI


Hmmm. HMMMMMMM!
posted by tpl1212 at 11:47 AM on November 2, 2005


If you type 'bill' in live.com you get Mr.Gates as first result. Not so on Google.
posted by leftoverboy at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2005


Googlebombing
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:01 PM on November 2, 2005


I thought the original query was for "miserable failure"... not just "failure"!

You'd expect that M$ would point *that* page at Google or something.
posted by clevershark at 12:04 PM on November 2, 2005


If you type 'bill' in live.com you get Mr.Gates as first result. Not so on Google.

Interesting. Even "billg" is inconsistent.
posted by Rothko at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2005


If you type 'bill' in live.com you get Mr.Gates as first result. Not so on Google.

Interesting. Even "billg" is inconsistent.


Well, if YOU owned a search engine, fifty billion dollars, and an ego the size of my liver, you'd want your name to come up first too.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:01 PM on November 2, 2005


And on these, the link appears:

Yahoo - 2
AltaVista - 4
posted by juiceCake at 1:02 PM on November 2, 2005


How are they not competing with them? WTF? Wouldn't you expect them to come up with the same result for the same query, if they both used good algorithms? Oooh... the query for "metafilter" returns the same first result. They must be stealing google's secret sauce!

I think the point is that if you make a functionally exact copy of a free service that is also free how is it competition in any worthwhile sense of the word? I guess you could pay people to use it but beyond that you can't compete on price. So if you're competing on functionality you need to be BETTER in some way.
posted by phearlez at 1:23 PM on November 2, 2005


What bugs me about live.com is that you can only see 3 results without scrolling vs 6 for google (given the same size browser window) Just too hunky chunky
posted by zeoslap at 1:32 PM on November 2, 2005


Is this the algorithm MetaFilter uses to get the same results as BoingBoing?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:56 PM on November 2, 2005


Oh snap!
posted by Rothko at 2:16 PM on November 2, 2005


Precisely, and googles results are taken to be the search standard so any variance from googles results is, sort of by definition, taken to be an inaccuracy.

I think it would be in Microsoft's interests to offer an alternative - why offer a copy? Much of Google's results are often inaccurate because of PageRank with site owners paying for links (black hat SEO, or "off page optimization").
posted by FieldingGoodney at 3:04 PM on November 2, 2005


Another well know googlebomb that works in MSN search is litigious bastards

Looks like the page ranking algorithms are quite similar to Google's. I really must set aside a couple of minutes to come up with a nice, frothy, mildly incoherent conspiracy rant about this.
posted by nogudnik at 3:13 PM on November 2, 2005


It's got a bit of potential. It's far more clean than the old generation of cluttered search engines, looking more like a white-collar version of Google or early Yahoo.

Still, I can't withstand lack of Firefox support. It's not a hatred of Microsoft, but rather a dislike of many portions of IE, and a general overall satisfaction with Firefox. It's a minority, but a vital one regarding Microsoft. It's like saying "You don't like all of our products as they are? We don't need you!", and that's just asking for negative word of mouth.

I like how default Google is very well streamlined, whereas Windows Live already has a minor amount of clutter to remove, such as the sidebar with those ever so worthless categories. The idea of easy access to mail, feed subscriptions, and user-created gadgets is an upside though. In fact, I suspect the gadgets will be the most notable advantage over Google that Windows Live will be able to offer, giving IE users something along the lines of Firefox extensions.

I'll stick with Firefox and Google, thank you very much. The ground-up customization is far more enjoyable for me. I'll give MS their due though, they've got something worthwhile here, until they screw it up.
posted by Saydur at 3:17 PM on November 2, 2005


Surely this means they're both shite search engines?

If you're entering a single word like 'failure', you want a definition of the word 'failure', not a joke at the expense of George Bush (accurate though the joke's assesment of that man is). Which is what I should've entered into the form that comes up after you click the 'Help us improve' link at the bottom of each results page at live.com if I weren't so lazy.

Sorry to go on, I meant to say something snarky about this being an utterly mince post but got carried away.
posted by jack_mo at 3:22 PM on November 2, 2005


Woulda been funnier if at least they'd linked to the version En Espanol.
posted by diastematic at 3:29 PM on November 2, 2005


jack_mo writes "If you're entering a single word like 'failure', you want a definition of the word 'failure', not a joke at the expense of George Bush."

Of course, Google does give you an option to see the definition. The link is in the blue bar at the upper right of the page.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:36 PM on November 2, 2005


Heh heh. I just got a "Server is too busy" error. I guess they got slashdotted.
posted by stet at 3:36 PM on November 2, 2005


ego the size of my liver

Okay, that's weird.
posted by swift at 8:48 PM on November 2, 2005


Server too busy for me as well. Must be a rock solid app.
posted by filchyboy at 8:51 PM on November 2, 2005


Swift, I think CD means he has a damn big liver...
posted by login at 9:14 PM on November 2, 2005


I don't get the lack of Firefox support either. Either you don't build the support in the first place, or then you do. Why build such a site from the ground up with no support and then promise (with a smiley) to add it later? Well, I guess that's the same logic with which Windows was built.
posted by keijo at 2:40 AM on November 3, 2005


mr_crash_davis:"[...] the size of my liver."

Cheers!
posted by spazzm at 5:07 AM on November 3, 2005


keijo writes "I don't get the lack of Firefox support either. E"

Basically they are telling the people who don't drink the kool-aid to go pound sand. Not sure I'd want to be alienating the early adopter types that are rabid firefox proponents when attempting to roll out a google killer.
posted by Mitheral at 2:30 PM on November 3, 2005


« Older Since 9/11, the United States has appeared to want...  |  Zombies in the Streets of Lexi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments