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Like Microsoft Always Said, Try To Put a Bing In The Universe

As an SEO expert, I love helping people find what they need online, but I despise how it is used to promote and shill poor-quality products. In the past, Google encouraged the creation of large websites with interconnected content to make them more discoverable, but this caused a lot of technical debt. Microsoft is now taking advantage of this by controlling Windows, Github, VSCode, and the default browser on the desktop.

Uncovering Microsoft's Plans to Compete with Google: My Quest to Find Alternatives to ChatBot Prometheus

By Michael Levin

Sunday, February 12, 2023

This is really a continuation of yesterdays article about going from being an SEO icky guy to the redeeming qualities and worthy purpose of achieving ikigai. I love what I do but I hate it being a part of marketing. Why not shape information to make it more findable and useful to people? That in itself is not icky. It’s using those skills to peddle and shill schlock products that I oppose.

Forever larger nets (meaning more published pages on increasingly larger sites) with forever tighter links (meaning more precise niche exact keyword matching content) used to be the solution. Google incentivized this type of outward-spiraling site building where the need for actual quality was low but the need for more and more perfectly targeted surface area was high.

This approach not only polluted the newest with garbage but also incurs a massive pile of technical debt. You need all that content published with all these WordPress and other CMS instances. Everything needed to be patched and kept up to date or it went from mere technical liability to security threat. Unpatched compromised sites are spreading vectors for Trojans that might just be trying to publish back links themselves on your neglected sites, and thus the problem compounds.

But it made a lot of money for Google. And if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. In fact anything that messes around with the search result page puts millions in AdWords PPC ad-serving revenue in jeopardy. Google used to be terrified to even add little bytes of new HTML code to the search results page until they bought YouTube and got all those high bandwidth engineers infusing a little bravery to the gun-shy Google guys.

A little bravery wasn’t enough. The big balsy move of a general purpose chatbot was just outright off the table due to the number of ways that would blow up in Google’s face. We see this in the false reporting of the James Webb Telescope being the first to spot extra-solar planets. It wasn’t. That made it into the desperate Hail Mary Bard announcement, LMFAO!

Anyone who says “but this is Google” or “Wait to the world sees LaMDA” don’t give either OpenAI or Microsoft enough credit. Achieving the sort of early mover adoption ($20/mo paid ChatGPT service just appeared) OpenAI is like Amazon’s early-mover advantage in massive cloud datacenters. You’d think Amazon single-handedly could lock out all newcomers by turning this blue ocean red. But who can take a lucrative but tied-up and saturated red ocean market and make it blue again? Microsoft. It’s called Azure, and it leveraged Microsoft’s control of Windows, Github and VSCode. All your Dev Life belong to Microsoft.

And Microsoft controls the default browser of the desktop. How huge is that? Well it turns out that Google’s search brand (and I’d assert no longer the quality of its search results or experience) drives around 9.5 out of 10 users to go through the considerable difficulty and scavenger hunt of changing the default browser search to Google. That both take a lot of work on any new machine or OS install, but it has to continually be re-done because these default search setting changes don’t lag between major Microsoft Edge upgrades. All your defaults will revert to Bing.

Not only that, you simply can’t eliminate the Bing search box on a new tab in Edge. No matter how you strip out all the marketing media schlock and customizations they weigh down the new-tab page with, the last thing you get down to and can’t eliminate is the Microsoft logo and the Bing search box underneath. Every time you create a new Edge browser tab, there’s the new Bing ChatBot coming soon announcement. LOL, this must drive Google insane.

And that’s not all. Have you ever been in Edge, opened a new tab and started typing your search in fast thinking g your cursor was positioned in the new tab address bar (whose search feature is set to Google) only to notice your keystrokes being directed into the Bing search box? You think that’s not by design? Someone designed this experience. They sat down and said, how can we get Edge users to search in Bing whether they like it or not? We’ll, we make any wrong move by the user “slip” them into a Bing search.

Such strategies are particularly effective if the non tech savvy and non detail-oriented folks who just want things to run. And imagine their delight when such an accidental Bing search experience to one of these “just give me the answer” folks are just given the answer. No Top-10 blue links. No AdWords pay per click advertisements intruding on the answer. Just an explicitly provided answer, possibly spoken, and always inviting you to interact more.

Microsoft can offer a purer ChatBot experience because their lifeblood revenue does not come from advertising. Google’s does and that makes Google way more vulnerable to disruption. And also somewhat worryingly it also emboldens Microsoft, a company that has already demonstrated how brave it is with ChatBots regardless of how it can blow up in their face, as it did with Tay the inflammatory tweeter from 2016.

Microsoft survived Vista, AWS and iPhone. They held onto the desktop, made huge inroads in the cloud, but lost mobile. However, Microsoft is Rocky Balboa. Nothing knocks it down for the count, and they’ll play all the same long-games as their competitor’s using their competitors free and open source contributions as a powerful weapon against them. They’ll gain more cloud market and they’ll take a crack or two more at mobile.

Microsoft is not solving your search problems. Microsoft is making you more productive with your digital skills. What Microsoft offers is fundamentally deeper and more connected to you and your being than Google. Google was for research. It takes work to search and is of much less appeal to the world in general than doom-scrolling. The success of social media has shown us that. People want to doom-scroll consume more than they want to burn their brain calories searching. That’s on average, not all people. But the masses and the most human-attention is in the feed, not the search results.

And now the doom-scrolling feed has a ChatBot. Sure it’ll be blended into Bing first because AI prompts suit the search model first and attacking Google is sexy, sexy. But it goes much deeper. It’s attempting to code an cultural dependency and almost a surrogate parent into your life. A 2-panel surrogate parent, search results to the left and a chatbot to the right in a desktop or tablet experience. Microsoft’s plans for Prometheus don’t initially look mobile friendly, but that would make sense since Microsoft doesn’t own mobile like they do the desktop.

That kooky split-panel display even sets the stage for Microsoft’s future foray into mobile with their kooky book-like folding-screen designs that have had mixed reception. That form factor is going to be a lot more appealing as it dovetails with Bing’s chatbot to the right re-wiring of search expectations. We might have an flip-open book-like device in our pockets that favor the 2-screen Prometheus design as the preferred form factor in the future even over exposed-screen iPhones. Another Microsoft long-play.

Microsoft doesn’t need to protect AdWords revenue. They can use Prometheus search as a loss-leader. Yikes. Talk about proprietary. I have to write about bewaring this dependency. How to wear Windows like dressing. Don’t become overly dependent on Microsoft and the new shaping-up Microsoft way. The Windows desktop + VSCode + GitHub and now + OpenAI combination is pretty darn insidious. It’s a corporate parenthood attempt again. Gotta keep people aware and show them the old-school, low-dependency, underlying everything, indisputable and undisruptable alternatives.

Hey ChatGPT: What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It is a logarithmic scale ranging from 0 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

Domain Authority is calculated based on various factors, including the number and quality of links pointing to a website, the age of the domain, the number of total links, and the strength of the websites linking to the domain.

Improving your website’s Domain Authority can help improve your website’s search engine rankings and visibility, but it is important to note that it is just one of many factors that search engines consider when ranking websites, and that it is not a direct ranking factor. Additionally, since Domain Authority is relative and logarithmic, it is difficult to see significant improvements over short periods of time.