Ms. Dewey gives MS Live search a viral edge

By December 19, 2006

One of my favorite quotes of all time is Oscar Wilde’s line “talent borrows, genius steals.” We see it all the time in our field and this is no exception. First there was the Subservient Chicken. Then the Beer.com girls raised the ante. Microsoft has arguably taken it out to a much broader level with Ms. Dewey.

She’s more than a little obnoxious, but that’s the point. And she doesn’t have quite the same tightly-defined repertoire of preassigned queries/responses that the Beer.com girls have (then again, the line of queries in the case of the Beer.com girls was fairly singular and easy to predict.) Still, there’s some good canned responses already in place and if it’s a success I wouldn’t be surprised to see them revisit it to add more based on the questions they’ve already received (wouldn’t you love to see the keyword list it generates?)

Like most viral efforts it’ll likely only have a relatively short window of opportunity before interest fades away. But it just goes to show how difficult it is to wrestle people away from Google’s stranglehold on the search industry. Most Google users don’t realize that competitors like Yahoo, Microsoft Live, Ask.com, etc. actually have strong search offerings on par (and in some instances, greater than) Google these days. But Google keeps most of their existing users relatively happy and as a result enjoys something that’s extremely difficult to come by in the online world, loyalty.

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