My Little Pony and MSN Search


I like Google, and I like it at lot. I've used it from before it became the standard for searching for stuff. As each new feature came along, I stuck right in and loved it even more. From doing unit conversions (you guys and your non-metric system) to tracking packages quickly without having to log into FedEx, Google was my search engine of choice and my default web page.

But I have to say that I'm probably going to only use it 50% of the time now, and I'm going to use MSN Search the rest of the time. Why? Company loyalty? Well, it depends who is reading this, but let's say "sure", and I won't mention my iPods and iMac.

I'm going to use MSN Search because it found stuff that Google didn't. It found me Pinkie Pie, the remaining My Little Pony that my daughter needs to complete her collection. Pinkie Pie, perhaps not the most manly of My Little Ponies, and perhaps not what a 37 year old man normally spends his time looking for on the internet, but nevertheless, Pinkie Pie. And not only did it find it, but it found it for $5 instead of the $20 that all the Pinkie Pie hoarders are asking for (it's become rare, don't ask me why, my knowledge of My Little Pony is limited - although I (ok, MSN Search) did find a great site called Dream Valley  if you are into that kind of thing.)

The other thing that MSN Search does that Google doesn't do is plug into Encarta. Searching for "Northern Ireland" for example brought up a terrific article with media clips and so on. That's a wealth of encyclopedic information there. Impressive.

So, I guess my point is that in the current storm of whether Microsoft employees should use iPods or not, one thing is clear - if you make a better product, you will naturally get people using it. And if people aren't using your product, and even your own employees, then you really need to take a good look at what you aren't doing right. And fix it.

On another note entirely, this is the end of my last week in the C# UE team. I've worked with the C++ and C# UE teams since I joined Microsoft (and came to the US) over five years ago. Next week I start work in the Mobile Devices team as a Content Specialist. I've had a great time in the C#/C++ and will miss working with them - but I'm looking forward to getting to know my new team. I hope they can understand my accent: it took this team about a year πŸ˜‰

Comments (4)

  1. Alan Yeung says:

    Encarta is great but it’s free for a limited time only…

    I can imagine Google soon will integrate open source encycolopedia or dictionary to the search…

    Anyway, I found that the new MSN has been indexing the web a bit more often than Google does.

  2. Chromadna says:

    Google has also been my weapon of choice for as long as I can remember favouring any search site., No, wait that is not strictly true because I do now remember favouring a site, the URL is buried too deep to recall – The only function of this site was to link to a multitude of mainstream, weird, not so wonderful and specialist search engines. I don’t think I have ever used MSN, but after reading this who knows?

    My main point….

    <b>Google has improved over the last 18 months.</b >

    A rather unqualified statement you say? Let me explain with this story……

    While moving home, Dan pulled a large box out of the loft. A smile instantly crept across his excited face πŸ™‚ "Now then, this is what I’m talking about" he said. "This is where it all began".

    "Where what began, what’s in the box?" Shouted Sara, Dan’s stunningly beautiful but tired, dusty wife. Sara was helping with the move and anxious to make progress.

    As Dan opened the box, Sara walked over "That can go!"

    "What do you mean THAT can go?" Said Dan, feeling insulted. "Do you know what THAT even is Sara?"

    "Let me guess.. Another box full of old computers? Dan you have got one PC, four Macs and that other thingy that I can’t touch in what you jokingly call a study. You always watch TV with me and a Powerbook on your lap. Gates knows how many computers you have at your offices in Leeds!!"

    "But, listen darling…" Dan tries in vain to interrupt her flow.

    "Never mind listen, bin or eBay. We are not taking all your junk to the new house."

    Dan was red faced, bin, bin he thought to himself. You can’t just bin this lovingly packed time capsule, with all the boxed peripherals, cables neatly rolled and the magazines. Oh yes, the magazines all in order with the free floppies carefully taped to the front covers.

    He had to say something. "Old computers? This is not the same as a ZX81, the BBC, the VIC20, the Spectrum or the C64 you have help me ‘tidy’ up in the past, they were mere play things. This baby was my first real computer, the start of my fascination, my business, my life! I want to save it to show the children"

    "Oh Dan, you are such a geek, I don’t know why I love you, but I do. Fair enough it it means so much to you, you can keep your..eermm" Sara groans as she leans in to read the writing on the side of the pristine blue and white box…

    "Your precious AMIGA 1200, Aaaaaaay." Elongating the A to maximise the mockery.

    Drifting of slightly Dan thinks to himself, ‘I wonder what John is doing now?’. John was Dan’s mentor in the Amiga world, practical neighbour and friend in the physical world when he lived in Northern Ireland.

    "I must remember to have a poke in Google" He absent mindedly said out load.

    "What was that?" asked Sara, "Oh, nothing." Dan replied.

    And so… although up and until today dyslexic Dan has never contributed to a BLOG and very rarely has he done any sort of creative writing outside of email or since school. Just like his lost friend John he prefers to write in the 3rd person.

    He never tried many times or very hard to find his lost friend, but he always used Google. That is why I can say confidently say today…

    <b>Google has improved over the last 18 months. :-)</b >

  3. John says:

    Wow, Dan! How’s it going mate?

    Drop me an email.. johnkenn@microsoft.com

    It’s it great we can abuse millions of dollars of corporate computers and networking in this way? πŸ˜‰

  4. kphlex says:

    Just as a note, search for northern ireland in google (as a phrase or not), and then click the [definition] button next to the result count. They recently updated that to utilize answers.com, which presents a page bursting with the Columbia University Press Encyclopedia entry, the wikipedia entry, and others. The wikipedia entry is quite interesting!
    <br>
    <br>Thanks for the info on msn search, however.

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