MIT Tech Review looks at Google and Microsoft

MIT Technology Review: What's next for Google.

This is a must-read article for anyone interested in Microsoft or Google.

My take? Google got where it did by focusing on what people want. I know that intimately. I'm still a big fan of Google. Why? Because they gave me a better search engine when the rest of the industry thought that search was done.

Guess what, it's not done, even today. Feedster, Pubsub, Technorati, Copernic, X1, Yahoo, MSN, and others remind us of that every single day.

They also took a stand against anti-user advertising. Go to Google. Do you see any color advertising? Any popup ads? Any blinky crap?


I'm sure that more than one Google salesperson has come to Sergey and Brin with a multi-million-dollar deal to take some Flash-based ads.

Sergey and Brin keep turning down the money. They have a philosphy. And it's brilliant.

Watch the users and give them what they want while also figuring out a business model. Sergey and Brin noticed that people will read -- and click on -- blue underlined text. You know, standard old HTML. And look at all the ads. They are standard old HTML. Nothing fancy. But they are making billions because they turned down the short-term multi-million-dollar deals.

They have a philosphy. Their product shows it. It's user centric.

So, what's the lesson for me? For Microsoft?

Serve the users.

Serve the users.

Serve the users.

Yeah, I wouldn't be suprised to see Steve Ballmer jumping around in a month or two getting us to cheer that.

But Ballmer had it right when he cheered "developers, developers, developers."

You see, how do you serve the users? Especially in a hyper-competitive space? Get developers to help you out. Get content professionals to help you out. Get geeks to help you out.

How do you do that?

1) Share the love (and some cash). Why do I still love Google to this day? Because Google always ranked my sites properly. Other search engines still don't. Including MSNs. By properly I mean that sites that are more relevant than mine are higher than mine, but sites lower in relevance than mine are lower than me. I still remember seeing porn sites getting higher ratings than my sites on Alta Vista when you searched on "netmeeting" (I started a well-trafficed site for NetMeeting).

But "share the love" goes deeper than that. Google is sharing revenue with the Web. Does Yahoo help me make money? Does MSN? No. By being selfish MSN is telling people to go to Google. This pull is strong. And getting stronger.

2) Let developers play. Here Microsoft should learn from Bill Gates' earlier decision to let third-party components plug directly into Visual Basic's user interface, er, IDE.

This let a sizeable developer community build products that enhanced Visual Basic. I know, I helped build ads for some of the component vendors.

By building an open platform Microsoft encouraged a sizeable industry (enough to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising in the magazine I was working for every month).

3) Serve the geeks (a little bit). Enough to make them go "ooohhh, they care about me." Look at the MSN Desktop Suite team videos I shot. Those guys put in some secret registry keys (that now aren't so secret) to make the UI better. And they put in some advanced shortcut functionality. My dad won't care about that, but the geeks sure will. In fact, look at the bloggers who are liking the new suite. They are praising it because of these features.

4) Be transparent. Invite users in. Let them help design the product. Listen to your MSN Search Champs. Videotape your design meetings. Bring everyone inside your strategy meetings and your design meetings. Let everyone participate in improving the search engine. Getting interviews with the team up was excellent. It sure helped you get your message out faster. But, now, go the next step. Bring all your customers inside the company and let them tell you what they need.

Listen, listen, listen.

See, there are more innovations ahead. Sergey and Brin listened. And now they are both billionaires.

Who's next?

[Via Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger]

Egyszer már elolvastam, de legalább még 1* el fogom,
[Listening to: The Raging Storm - W.A.S.P. - The Neon God part one: The Ris (5:45)]