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"Compared to My Vision, [Google's] Pathetic"

From a story on Longhorn in today's Seattle Times:

The biggest change is to the file system that stores documents in the computer. Longhorn's system will be based on a new database the company is developing that is designed to make it easier to find, sort and retrieve each document...

[Bill Gates] has always dreamed of making it easier to find files on computers. His mandate was that the technology make it easier to find data on different machines. That would make it easier to learn to use a PC because users would have to learn only one way to search for things.

"This is one where very much I'm the most committed to making sure we get it exactly right," he said.

The search tool sounds similar to the popular Google search engine, but turned inward into the computer rather than out onto the World Wide Web.

But [the group vice president in charge of the Windows division, Jim] Allchin bristled at the comparison. "Google's a very nice system, but compared to my vision, it's pathetic," he said.

Allchin said his goal is to have computers learn about the user, helping set the context for searches.

"Whether it's Google or any of the other search engines, the amount of random stuff you get back is pretty overwhelming," he said. "But if you knew a little bit about me -- for example, I love music -- so when I'm searching for 'strings,' you know they should know this guy's probably thinking about guitars."

The hubris of this is staggering. I can search the entire Web using Google two orders of magnitude faster than I can search my own hard drive using Windows -- and this after Microsoft has had 20 years to work on its operating system.

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