Gary Angel’s post on The Soul of an Old Machine in SEMAngel touches what I had on my mind but in a way I never articulated – besides – I also read Soul of a Machine – many years ago, when it first came out.
“A long time ago, Tracy Kidder wrote a remarkable book (‘The Soul of a New Machine’) about the creation of the Data General’s first 32-bit mini-computer. The book is worth reading even if you aren’t in the ½ of one percent of the population who still knows what a 32 bit mini-computer was. It’s worth reading because Kidder spent a year with the engineers, programmers, designers, testers and managers who initiated the program and saw it through to a remarkably successful conclusion. Kidder captures the people and the project in a compelling story that added more to my understanding of how technology is born than any book I’ve ever read.”
Gary brings up something interesting (which I thought too) that the Yahoo acquisition is really about the content network rather than Search – but .. he also mentions that MicroHoo could actually make a better search product than Google has if they could rise to the occasion.
“..I think Microsoft needs to re-imagine Search. I have long believed that the key to a better search is to make it more like an embedded application – with sorting and filtering of commercial results that are automatically split from non-commercial results. That’s impossible for Google, because it would break the whole pay for position paradigm. Throw out that paradigm, and you have the potential for a dramatically improved set of commercial listings. How would you make money? You wouldn’t make as much, of course, but you could sell improved branding and rich media inserts that popped up on roll-over. The point is not to grow revenue – it’s to take money out the market and capture mind-share.”
Personally, I want Google to be humbled – but it would also be better for all of us if we had a viable alternative to Google for both Advertising and Search.