Google Testing Software Distribution With Dell, Plus Details On IE7 Search Battle

We covered
last month
that Google was providing personal home pages for Dell.

Dell testing preinstalled Google software package
from Reuters now looks at
how Google is working with Dell to put Google’s desktop search and toolbar on
Dell computers. It’s said to be a test distribution, at the moment. Meanwhile,
the Wall Street Journal looks at that and more about the search battle shaping
up within IE7.

John Battelle points to
Microsoft, PC Makers Team Up With Its Software Rivals
(paid sub. required)
from the Wall Street Journal, which sparked the Reuters story about Google and
Dell. The WSJ article covers how Google might pay Dell fees approaching $1
billion over three years for distribution.

The story goes deeper into concerns by Yahoo and Google that the new search
toolbar in
Internet Explorer 7
might hurt them, since MSN would be the default. Sure,
it might. Then again, MSN Search has been the default in IE since at least IE3,
if I recall. Despite this, non-Microsoft search engines haven’t just survived,
they’ve thrived. Yes, IE7 sports an actual search box this time, but I still
think we’ll see users change this off the default setting in various ways.

There’s lots of detail on Google wanting Microsoft to ask consumers to make a
conscious choice about search providers, rather than IE7 automatically using
their choice in IE6 (which is probably MSN Search, for most people). It’s an odd
argument, given that Google has not demanded that Firefox make consumers do
similar choices in that browser. A partnership
deal makes
Google the default in Firefox, except for Asian-language versions where Yahoo
cut its own

Chris Sherman is planning our own look at some of these issues in the near
future. I’d love to see some universal agreement about how ALL browsers should
handle choices of search providers, in terms of how defaults are set and can be
changed. What I fear is another round of stealth default changes, where each of
the players constantly try to switch you around.

Google and Yahoo encourage you to choose them as a default search provider
through their software apps. I don’t mind, because I can see they are clearly
asking me when this happens. Both also try to encourage you to change in other
ways, as you can see
here and
Again, I don’t mind, because you can understand what’s going on. But a few years
ago, other players would just make the changes, leaving users puzzled about why
all their searches mysteriously started going through some new search engine. We
don’t need that again.

Related reading

A screenshot of visual search on Pinterest. On the left is a picture of a copper angle-poise lamp, with the words 'Visually similar results' above it. Down the right-hand side are a number of pins showing similar lamps.
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