We've had Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer make jabs at Google before. However, ZDNet Australia article Google in sight as Ballmer vows .NET push reports a new spin, that "in the next six months, we'll catch Google in terms of relevancy," Ballmer said.
It will be interesting to see how this will be proved in six month's time. As Danny points out here, trying to determine search relevancy is a difficult thing to do.
That said, if you look at the results from Barry's unscientific but very interesting survey, the difference in relevancy between Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and MSN Search is already very small.
Of course, relevancy is very important but to "catch" Google, MSN needs to build mindshare. This might be their biggest challenge. No matter what Google does, it seems to get press attention and buzz everywhere (not only in the tech press). Plus, I have the gut feeling that many users have the belief that no matter what MS does, it could never be as good, cool or useful at compared to what Google provides.
As I've said many times before, it's not only about building a quality product but it's also now about changing user behavior (come see what we're doing) and beliefs (only Google is and will ever be cool).
Other comments Ballmer made while visiting Australia relating to Google:
- "Innovation in search is not done."
- "We'll use search to peer into a range of business applications which would allow multiple applications to be searched simultaneously."
Ah, metasearch. One interface to use and to learn. This is something I've been talking about for a long time!