Let me start by stating some facts and opinions. Microsoft is a phenomenon. I use Windows; though I’m quite comfortable with Linux, I won’t use a Linux-only PC for many years to come. Microsoft Office is just too good. Let me accept that I live in a Microsoft universe. I respect Microsoft for bringing the PC to the common man.
But Microsoft has been (probably has always been) sluggish. Be it the fact that they realised the potential of GUIs only after seeing the Mac, or the fact that they realised the potential of the Internet only after Netscape… or that they have just realised that their cranky one-tab only browser is on the way down, Microsoft has not been the first mover in most good things.
But somehow they have managed to retain their place as the top software behemoth… sometimes by fault and sometimes by default. But with the coming of Google, Microsoft has lots to fear. Google has been churning one new technology after another, most of it winning public support. Some industry watchers predict that Google could come up with its own PC, a dumb terminal which could directly connect to the Internet and run Google software. Microsoft, thou 800-pound behemoth, are you all deadweight?
Google’s popularity has been such that the site should be receiving at least one on every four clicks on the Net. Nobody uses the term search these days, they always “google” for something! I don’t think MSN Search can compare with Google; the only way Microsoft can prevent people from googling is to release service packs for Windows and IE, which would redirect the browser to MSN Search, if the user types in google.com. Microsoft might even put in an alert box saying “Don’t try Google – MSN Search is best for you!!!”
Blogging, being one of the world’s favorite pastimes, Microsoft didn’t want to lose out on this space. So they seem to have come out with their own version of a blogging tool. Given the fact that Microsoft could have studied so many popular blog sites before developing Spaces, I’m amazed that they haven’t really improved much.
That same old cluttered interface à la Hotmail is enough to drive away any potential blogger. And then there is the 30 MB storage limit. When Google is increasing mail storage by the second, Hotmail is still touting its 250 MB mailbox as il fenome. And even that is applicable only for residents of North America! In a world sans barriers, that sounds ridiculously ridiculous! Same applies to Spaces. I’m not saying that I’ll write 100 pages everyday and exhaust the 30 MB limit inside a month. But Blogger says you write, we host… however huge! Who wins, you decide!
The commenting system in Spaces makes me red with anger. One must log in using his Passport to place a comment. To put in one line “Nice post, dude!”, I’ll have to do that? Surely, they must be easier ways to make people get a Passport! As one friend remarked, “… for a narrowly read blogger like me costs too much in terms of visits. Obviously, we need some one to read and comment.”
Spaces has three good features that Blogger doesn’t offer. There is an inbuilt trackback system, a hit counter, and photo albums. But all these features can be installed on Blogger using third-party offerings. And this is where Blogger triumphs. You get the basic framework, and innumerable tweaks and add-ons.
One of my Computer Science professors used to remark that Unix was built for engineers, and Windows for clerks! In an era where everyone is becoming tech-savvy, plain user-friendliness just won’t sell! If Microsoft realises this, we’ve got a real game on our hands. Else, let us roll out the carpet for Google!
No related posts.