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Has Google Got Game (Enough)?

Google's adding portal, business search, and other goodies to its portfolio. But can diversification stem Microsoft search momentum?

In a short time span, it's unleashed an array of free and useful tools—for blogging, search for business users, and new customizability that can make your Google page pretty darn close to a personal portal. These goodies build atop Google's hugely successful Web search franchise, and free Gmail service. Not bad.

Last week, Microsoft unveiled its new-and-improved search capabilities. Google responded within days with its entry into business search--partnering with Microsoft archrival IBM/Lotus no less.

Google and IBM/Lotus are following the "the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" dictum. And it's all very reminiscent of the alliance the old, independent Lotus tried to build with Netscape Communications years ago against Microsoft, their mutual enemy.

Of course, Netscape and Lotus ended up spatting and competing with each other. Netscape took on Lotus Notes, as well as Microsoft Exchange Server, in the business mail business (bmb anyone?). It then pretty much disappeared into AOL and Sun Microsystems as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, bundled with Windows, ate Netscape's breakfast, lunch and dinner. (How come none of these Microsoft archrivals can keep their eye on the prize?)

That stroll down memory lane leads to the inevitable question: Can Google avoid the pitfalls that befell Netscape, Borland, WordPerfect et. al.? Will it end up competing with Lotus as well as Microsoft in corporate e-mail, for example? It's hard to see what the upside of entering that snakepit could be, but even big Google fans now think search is gonna be a hotly contested category now with Microsoft plunging in.

Says Ron Herardian, system architect at Global System Services: "Google needs to do more than desktop search because Microsoft will compete head to head with them there. And quite honestly, Microsoft will win. Why? Because they'll end up bundling their search with Windows." Say goodnight Irene.

Harsh, but something Google has to consider.

Don' t Believe Everything You Read Part Whatever

Last week a friend sent via email what appeared to be a BBC story about the world's most horrific steel cage match. The report chronicled a "ring-fight" in Cambodia in which an imported African lion maimed and killed a cadre of midgets. The story was too crazy to be believed, but it certainly LOOKED it.

Fortunately, it was too bad to be true. Here's the story behind the story. Or at least the purported story behind the story. Who really knows? Just be careful what you post. And what you believe of what is posted.

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