Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Saturday, November 01, 2003
 
A New York Times article, "Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals?" that I found disturbing. Google would be so less wonderful if it was part of Microsoft. It's not just a knee jerk "I think Microsoft makes bad software so I hate them so I think they'd ruin Google" argument. I'm actually not a Microsoft hater at all; one of my best friends works there and is happy there, and I'm more comfortable with Windows than with any other system. But a big part of Google's appeal is about branding and trust. We trust them not to be evil, and we feel a comfort and aesthetic pleasure in using their very well branded and designed tools. That pleasure is not incidental. When you spend hours searching for things and people online, as I do both professionally and as a means of wasting time, that mild pleasure helps keep anxiety and ocular stress down. We are charmed by their antics because we know they are a real company of actually interesting people started by two guys. That joy will dissipate significantly if we think they've plugged into Microsofts PR machine and are utilizing the efforts of people who studied advertising in school.


That kind of sentimentality may seem functionally unimportant, but I think in the search engine world loyalty is key. If someone shows up and builds a better search engine tomorrow, I may not use it for a while because of loyalty to Google. Not very long, but a little while. But that little while might be enough time for Google to bring theirs up to par. Merge with Microsoft and they lose that buffer zone.

The other thing which is depressing about that story is the realization that when it goes public it's immediately going to become corporate. I think it would be really cool if private individuals had the savvy and resources to buy Google stock. There's a company that I'd want to invest in for good old fashioned reasons--not because I think it'll make me rich really quickly (and unfortunately, it would, which is why corporations are going to lunge after all the shares) but because I want it to succeed.

Nick points out that Microsoft is forming a search engine division, so Google might be thinking they better join up or be run out of business. With any other company I'd agree that this is the case completely. But I know really smart people who I am certain would, if given the choice between a very high paying job with Microsoft in Palo Alto and only a high paying job with Google in Palo Alto, would immediately and absolutely choose Google.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
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Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
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ChennaiCentral
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Dark Days Ahead
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Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
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Finding My Voice
Forsv
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Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
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Yglesias:Tpmcafe

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Alexandra Huddleston
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TiffinBox

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Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

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Scott McCloud


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