SEARCH-ENGINE WAR : Google vs Yahoo vs MSN
Using a simple technology (implanted by OS parent company Microsoft) MSN will be automatically present on hundreds of millions of PCs. See full description for more details
In theory, the following idea is available for sale to any entity who, for whatever reason, wishes to have it. But in practice, only one entity has the required interest, scale and capacity to implement it. That entity is Microsoft.
Microsoft’s search-engine unit, MSN, is actually an excellent search-engine and a substantial site in its own right. Yet MSN is viewed quite often as the internet venture of a company (Microsoft) whose core identity is not synonymous with the internet. So, as a search-engine, it’s not as iconic and as appreciated as Google or Yahoo. Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that those three (Google, Yahoo, MSN) constitute an elite 3-member group of search-engine behemoths. So while MSN is not as internet-synonymous as the other two, it still occupies the same stratum as them.
But the problem is that, due to MSN being identified more with Microsoft than with the internet, it lags the other two in popularity. One of the worst things that could have happened to MSN has happened viz. Google and Yahoo have collaborated on a joint online ad deal. How does MSN respond? How does MSN attract internet users to use, favor and view it the way they use, favour and view Google and Yahoo?
The thing is that MSN is roughly equal to Yahoo in terms of efficiency, substance and aesthetics and roughly equal to Google in terms of substance and aesthetics. It is highly unlikely that MSN is going to discover or unveil any technology that puts it so far ahead of Google or Yahoo that those search-entities’ users start migrating en-masse to MSN. In fact, loyalty, satisfaction and force-of-habit keeps Google’s and Yahoo’s users rooted to those two search-engines and if for some reason the users of either of those search-engine’s become dissatisfied with one of the latters, then they’re more likely to migrate to the other, not another. Bad news for MSN. As I inferred earlier, there’s not much MSN can do to “up” itself beyond the natural pace of advancement. So MSN’s prime concern is this:
How to lure Google, Yahoo and other internet users in general to MSN.
The answer is technological but a relatively simple technology. Remember during the height of the USA/USSR space-race when NASA spent millions of dollars trying to develop a pen that could write in outer-space whereas the Russians simply used a pencil? My point is that, sometimes a major conundrum can have a very simple solution.
MSN’s parent company is Microsoft. Via MSN, Microsoft has a foothold on the internet. But by virtue of its OSs (Windows, Vista, etc) Microsoft also has non-internet access to millions of PCs. Assuming that Microsoft still plans to roll out millions, if not billions, of units of these OSs for the foreseeable future, Microsoft can exploit its enormous PC access to MSN’s advantage. What I’m about to propose is the use of a “Trojan Horse-like” feature but, at worst, it would be a “cheeky” rather than malevolent type of Trojan Horse.
I haven’t seen the Vista OS as yet but I do know that on Windows, every page of every program, file or folder has a Title-Bar. The only page that does not have a Title-Bar is Desktop. As far as I know, the Title-Bar is irremovable/unhideable (short of selecting FULL-SCREEN). The extreme-right of the Title-Bar features the minimize-maximize-close icons. On a maximized-page, this physically occupies the top-right corner of the screen.
This is my proposal :
Microsoft should integrate a Trojan-Horse feature into its OSs which would make the following occur :
On every page, at the top-right corner of the screen, but to the left of the minimize-maximize-close icons, would be a rectangular icon measuring about 15mm horizontally and 8mm vertically. This icon is the “msn” logo. That will be its permanent location. If the page is minimized, the icon remains in its physical location at the top-right of the screen. In other words, it’s not on the page at all. It simply overlaps that segment of a maximized page. This implies that even if FULL-SCREEN is selected the icon does not disappear off-screen. Even on DESKTOP the icon retains the same physical location.
This icon is immovable, irremovable and unhideable. It is present whether the device is online or offline. But there is one especially conspicuous characteristic of the icon. It continuously FLASHES! It flashes at a rate of about 2 flashes-per-second. So for all these reasons viz. its strategic location, its immovability, its irremovability, its unhideability and most important, the fact that it flashes non-stop, we can conclude that this icon is no doubt very conspicuous. Please distinguish flashing from blinking.” Flashing” means that the icon itself continuously disappears and reappears in rapid succession, whereas “ blinking” means that the icon is highlighted on-and-off in rapid succession. By measuring just 15mm x 8mm, it’s big enough to be conspicuous but small enough so as not to be inconveniently intrusive and distracting.
That describes where the icon is located and how it looks, but what is it? Well, if you have not figured it out, it’s a direct link to the msn homepage. But due to being especially and unusually conspicuous (the reasons for which having being described above), it is an unusually effective link. It is certainly more effective than a tiny still-pic icon or a text-link in the FAVORITES tab.
The flashing, especially, has a subliminal effect. It is human-nature to “pick at” moving things. You would be surprised at how many millions of users actually click that link out of just curiosity or just for the sake of it. That’s a subliminal effect. The fact that it’s ever-present is also very significant. It may be a case of splitting hairs but you may be surprised at how many people may open a link that’s only one [conspicuous] click away rather than, say, opt for a two-step process such as opening the FAVORITES tab and clicking on the link to something else there. In fact, this flashing icon is more effective than having msn as one’s homepage for a homepage is not ever-present on screen whereas the icon is! The icon is conspicuous, but its ever-presence makes it very convenient too!
Keep in mind that the gap between msn and Google or Yahoo is not big, if at all. I submit that Google and Yahoo users use those search-engines largely out of habit, rather than out of a disdain for msn. All msn needs is a chance to at least briefly attract users who otherwise would not have bothered to visit it. This is what this tiny flashing icon seeks to achieve via a subliminal technique. A tiny, subliminal prompt such as this could actually translate into millions of new and repeat msn users. Search-engine users needn’t be mutually-exclusive. I use Google for most things but Yahoo for other things. msn’s aim should be to attract non-exclusive users as well. The law of averages guarantees that a percentage of those users will make msn their primary search-engine of choice, and perhaps even their homepage too!
DO NOT discount the subliminal effect of that tiny flashing icon. If msn does not have a hi-tech solution to achieving parity with, or exceeding, Google and Yahoo, then a low-tech solution must suffice, right? Well this is it. Since search-engines derive their revenues primarily by online-ads, and since online-ads are driven by user-traffic, this concept to increase msn’s user-traffic is quite logical.
msn’s parent company is Microsoft, the OS giant. Only Microsoft has all the requisites to implement this concept. Via its OSs, it has access to millions of PCs. It has a search-engine unit – msn. And it has the scale and resources to implement this concept, which, to be honest, is super-simple. I have described the idea – surely Microsoft has the know-how to create it. I’m not afraid that someone else will rip off this concept off this website. There’s no point in any small-to-mid-scale entity trying to implement this concept. It would not be viable. The concept requires that it is used by an internet [or internet-related] entity of massive scale (i.e. one with at least tens of millions of users). Google, Yahoo, even Apple and Facebook all fit that description. But none of them (let alone any smaller entity) have the reach and resources to implement a concept such as this, whereas Microsoft does, and can exploit that advantage for msn’s benefit. Only Microsoft/msn can viably implement this concept. As such, this concept would be a Microsoft-implanted Trojan Horse in every PC that uses its OSs. The OSs that Microsoft rolls out from now on ought to have this feature integrated.
I’m quite aware of Microsoft’s policy regarding the non-acceptance of unsolicited proposals. But this is technically a loophole. I’m not submitting the concept directly to Microsoft. By posting it on a technology website, I’m theoretically putting it up for sale for any individual or organization to purchase. The thing is, it probably only suits Microsoft/msn. So it ought to be purchased by them, or someone representing them. Nevertheless, this idea is for sale for anyone who wishes to have it for whatever reason, provided they meet my asking price.
My asking price for this idea is US$ 10 000 (ten thousand US dollars). However, I prefer that that be converted into my country’s currency viz. South African Rands.
Problem this idea/invention addresses:
An online ad-deal collaboration between Google and Yahoo has left an already-lagging MSN lagging even further behind those two. This simple innovation allows MSN to close that gap.
] Available for consultation?
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