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Microsoft Rules the Universe: Introducing Blogbot

Bill Gates worries that, perhaps, there may be consequences for mowing down the competition

The behemoth that is Microsoft announced yet another innovation yesterday, this time for the weblogging community: MSN Blogbot. Essentially a tool for searching weblogs, MSN Blogbot is set to début before the end of June. MSN Corporate Vice President of MSN Information Services, Yusuf Mehdi, announced Blogbot along with MSN Newsbot (which will be released separately), a news search engine also in development.

And then there's something else — Answerbot. This will be a search feature that will retrieve answers to questions posed in natural language, along with links to related sites, although Answerbot is probably a few years away from launch.

Chances are Blogbot will be based on RSS feeds, à la the popular Feedster. Here's what Feedster CEO Scott Rafer has to say about the Blogbot initiative:

“I think it would be really good for our business, frankly. There’s a sector-validation issue. … If you talk to our users, they’re thrilled about us. If you talk to large partners and the financial community and all these other folks, they’re like, well, how do we know RSS isn’t just a fad? … To have Microsoft actually go to the point of saying, hey, look, this stuff is even worth searching, (it's) fabulous.”

Rafer added that he's “amazed” Microsoft is calling it “Blogbot,” because RSS feeds aren't just about weblogs. They also come from news services and other sources of information. He said he's generally unconcerned about the Microsoft project, because “Microsoft as a brand is so unpopular with the core blogging community.”

RSS feeds, for the uninitiated, are streams of information in a type of code known as XML. People subscribe to RSS feeds using programmes called news aggregators, letting them access information from a variety of sources in one place. Feedster currently uses 520,000 of those feeds as the basis of its search engine.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at March 27, 2004 10:05 AM in Weblogs


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