• 06:28:57 pm on November 22, 2006 | 1

    …they gave me a dose of reality.

    So, I was recently explaining to a friend how impressed I was with the search results I was getting from, the new search offering from our friends at Microsoft. To prove my point, I went to and was about to do a search when I noticed a promotion: “Introducing 3-D Maps!”. I’m not sure if anyone has tried Virtual Earth from MSFT Live, but it is very cool. In fact, I think most people would be surprised by how well Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask’s mapping offerings stack up against Google’s these days. Anyhow, I digress…

    When I start zooming in on Boston, eagerly anticipating the breathtaking 3-D views of my hometown, I got the following error message when I clicked the 3-D view option (I will type it out in case you can’t read it):

    “To use this feature, open Live Local Search in Windows InternetExplorer version 6 or 7. For more information, and to download the latest version, visit the Microsoft Internet Explorer website.”

    So my epiphany for the day is this, “$100 million dollars can buy a lot of innovation, but cannot change a culture that fundamentally is not geared towards respecting users.” Google and Yahoo (despite stiff competition from everyone) seem to have the right balance of innovation and monetization (they are businesses after all), tempered with a healthy dose of competition. However, despite those drivers, they both seem to respect users first and foremost; I know this first hand from having worked with both. Microsoft, however, can’t seem to shake its old habits. So sure, Microsoft might have inched forward this month with higher-resolution maps and 3-D rendering, but I will take my maps in 2-D for now and wait until I can get them without an OS attached!

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