There was a distinct lack of fireworks at the ”factory tour” that Google put on today to show off its search prowess. More than anything else, what came across (and what always comes across when Google engineers take the stage) is that making search work really well is difficult.
Most of the time was taken up with incremental improvements in two of the most promising areas: local search and “universal” search. These are not new, but they have the potential to greatly enhance the relevance and range of material returned by regular Web searches.
Tabbed browsing, introduced in Mozilla’s original Firefox in 2004, has changed the surfing habits of a generation of users and the “Awesome Bar”, a feature in Firefox 3, could do the same.
Mozilla signalled it was close to a June launch for Version 3.0 on Monday, with the posting of Release Candidate 1, and Mike Schroepfer, head of engineering, and Mike Beltzner, director of user experience, gave us a demo of all the new features last week.
Down at the Googleplex in Mountain View this morning to hear Google’s Marissa Mayer (pictured) talk about the state of search.
You have to feel for Bill Gates and Kevin Johnson, the man with the unenviable job of trying to prove that Microsoft can at least play on the same field as Google. Gates is scheduled to present Microsoft’s latest advances in search this Wednesday at an event that the company has been touting heavily. Johnson, in an email to employees yesterday, promised big news: