Microsoft Can’t Do Search to Save It’s Life

When it comes to search engines, my choice has always been Google. Well, not always. I can remember the days before Google really took off when I was forced to stumble in the dark with inept search engines and portals like Alta-Vista, Yahoo, Excite, Snap.com, and some others. Google is far from perfect, but for the most part, when I need to find anything other than a solution to a technical problem. Google will find it fast and right away.

Because the Delaware River Port Authority raised it’s bridge toll rates, I decided that maybe it’s time to get EZ Pass. I know from previous attempts to sign up that I have to go to the EZ Pass NJ site. I’m used to using the built-in search box on my browser, but I keep forgetting that IE on my work laptop is still set to Microsoft’s Live Search, which for all purposes is worthless. I went to the search box in the upper right-hand corner and typed in “EZ Pass NJ”. This is what I got:

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OK, the main EZ Pass site was the first response, and I could have navigated my way to where I needed to go, but EZ Pass is some kind of “public private partnership”, which means that it has no competition and has no burning need to make things easy for a consumer to use it’s services.

Since I realized at this point that this was NOT Google, I opened another browser tab to Google just to see what the difference is. Here it is:

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Wow, look at that! www.ezpassnj.com was the FIRST response. It was so easy I could have guessed it, yet Microsoft’s Live Search algorithm didn’t return it.

I do think that Microsoft does some things right, but search is not one. It’s probably too late considering public perception of Microsoft to adopt some kind of mirror of Google’s “Don’t be evil” creed, but I have a suggestion if they’re interested: “Just be useful.” Stop getting into areas that you’re no good at just because other companies are raking in the money. Just because Google is making billions on search and advertising doesn’t mean that Microsoft will mirror their success. As I recall, there is an area that Microsoft has made billions at. Oh, that’s right, it’s SOFTWARE. It’s making software.

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