Even though Google has a problem with Internet Explorer 7 serving up MSN Search as the default engine, the Department of Justice doesn’t. The DOJ has concluded that Microsoft’s inclusion of the MSN Search toolbar in IE 7 does not raise any antitrust issues and has approved implementation of it. What does this mean for search? Will Google’s hold on the search engine market become threatened? It’s certainly possible.
Firefox, Safari and Opera all have built-in search boxes that default to Google, and currently a large number of Google searches come from people using these built-in toolbars. Now Microsoft is putting its own search toolbar in IE 7, and with 85% of Internet users surfing with the IE browser, this could spell trouble for Google.
Google is complaining that switching the default search engine in IE 7 isn’t easy enough. Well it’s not difficult. Users can simply click on a dropdown arrow next to the search box to choose Google or other search options from a list (which is easier than changing from Google to Microsoft in Mozilla Firefox). Does this really even matter, though?
For most people, Google equals search. And, yes, it will likely continue to be the dominant player in the search engine market for years to come. But I think convenience can affect people’s habits, and Microsoft just took a huge step in the right direction.
I guess only time will tell whether or not the MSN search box will have a large effect on how users search the internet, but one thing’s for sure, Microsoft has no where to go but up.
Read Part 1 of this post for Straight Up talk on how Google could solve this problem.