Search is an amazing example where we relied somewhat on an outside company, Inktomi, which Yahoo bought, then decided to build our own search effort essentially from scratch. Now, in a very short period of time, we will actually have more than matched the kind of relevance that Google can deliver. The role of Microsoft Research in that has been phenomenal.
Considering Google sucks at relevancy, if you doubt me try a product search. Doing a product search returns typically in the first position Amazon then followed by price comparison engines. Ok, if I wanted to deal with Amazon don’t you think I would go there? If I wanted a price comparison engine, don’t you think I’d go to my favorite?
While you may never hear this reported to be truth, it is my belief based upon hard research across the search engines that Amazon pays Google to accept a feed for their products. Now, you might ask how I can determine this. Rather simply actually, the URL returned by Google is always different than the address returned by Amazon if you traverse through their site. Clicking a link from Google to Amazon retains the URL Google provided. Then to follow this up, when Yahoo listed Amazon’s pages the URL’s were totally different. Yet, all three pathes ended with the same product, but different URL’s.
How then can one not assert that Amazon pays Google to index their pages? Even when Google asserts ‘do no evil’ and that they do not accept feeds from anyone. Obviously something is amiss here.
My only hope is that MSN doesn’t follow the same path Google has and returns honest results based entirely upon relevancy.