November 13, 2004 | Category:

Msn Search

Those fine young engineers over at Microsoft are trying to edge their way into the search engine space with MSN Search. In attempting to take Google’s dominance, they need to not only at least match the quality of results, they have to make people want to leave Google. It’s not sufficient to simply have good links. Google is the search engine. To make people leave it, they have to have some tangible improvement to the user experience.

Their answer? The search builder.

This is a terrible move that will not win them the search war. The problem is that people don’t want to build up searches, they couldn’t care less about most of the options presented to them (assuming they took the time to understand them in the first place), they want to “type their 1.3 words into the search window and let the search tech do its stuff”. They won’t do any more than that.

Google understood that. The UI is as simple as it can be: a textbox and a button. No ambiguity, no ignorable complexity, just the functionality.