Maciej, Jeremy and Dave have all been blogging about this: Microsoft have unleashed MSNBOT, a new web crawler (judging by the robots.txt string, written in COBOL) which heralds their new search service which will topple Google.
My thoughts: dream on, guys.
What makes Google cool? Fast, accurate searches, and no ads. OK, MSN could do fast searching; that’s doable, it’s just a technical matter.
But what does the latter require? IMO, it takes very strong technical leadership, willing to resist any and every business unit that fancies dropping some cruddy ads on the front page; it’s a cultural issue. This is especially tricky where ads (and money) are involved. Now go take a look at MSN.com. See what I mean? I rest my case.