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May 5, 2005

Building a Google-Killer

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“There’s companies that are just so cool that you just can’t even deal with it.” Bill Gates seems to take Google’s popularity personally. Certainly he’s not taking it lying down.

Fortune has a long article on Microsoft gearing up to fight Google. From Gates’ recognition in December 2003 that Google was a serious threat, to Chris Payne’s two hour presentation on why Microsoft needed its own search engine fast, it’s a deliciously intimate article that conveys a sense of the panic that must grip Redmond at the name of Google.

But while the article is good at comparing the two companies, it doesn’t seem to know very much about the basics of search.

From the article: Another advantage for Gates & Co. is that search engines are still technologically primitive. They can’t understand context, for example; if you type “chip,” they can’t tell whether you are looking for a snack food or high-tech equipment.

The concept of latent semantic indexing apparently hasn’t penetrated as far as the Fortune reporters.

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