Microsoft announced on Friday that they are ending their Live Search Books and their Live Search Academic projects. Whilst you can’t blame them, you can’t help but feel slightly disappointed at the increasing dominance of Google on the web. If Microsoft can’t give Google a run for their money, who can?
The first comment in response to Microsoft’s blog announcement pretty much explains why Live Search Books and Live Search Academic are closing down “…this is first time i hear about book search…”. After the initial buzz around the launch of the services, they quickly dropped into the background with few people using them. It wasn’t just about monetizing the service, it was about getting people to use them. Personally I found them very un-user-friendly, and at one stage I seem to remember having to access Live Search Academic with Firefox as is it wasn’t compatible with the latest version of Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. Whilst there have been numerous academic papers investigating Google Scholar, I can’t recollect one investigating Live Search Academic. Most people just didn’t like the services.
However, whilst I can’t mourn the passing of the poor Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, I can’t help but worry about the unstoppable Google behemoth. One of the first questions I ask of any new innovative service is: “Can this break Google’s domination?”. Unfortunately, all too often, the answer is no.