Wired 12.03: The Complete Guide toGooglemania! "Why is Microsoft so obsessed? Because it knows search is a key component in the future of computing. Microsoft's next-generation OS, Longhorn, is conceived as a unified interface for a PC, its local network, and the Web. For it to work, Longhorn needs a sleek search utility. If Microsoft can't buy Google, it'll resort to its time-tested strategy: copy the best technology and integrate it on the desktop.
At the same time, Google has become more than a typical search engine. Its search box is a phone book and a dictionary. It can check stock prices, provide news, track FedEx packages, perform metric conversions, locate airplanes, offer street maps, and supply weather conditions. It'll search retail outlets by zip code and, with Froogle, scour the Web for products. In short, Google execs are innovating like they're running from someone. "People at Google don't talk about it, but it's pretty evident," says Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch. "Microsoft's making a move into search that's equal to its move into Web browsers. That's got to make you nervous."
For all their differences, the two companies have a lot in common. Microsoft looks at Google and sees its own past, full of promise. Google looks at Microsoft and sees the future - a swaggering company that dominates the tech landscape. It's a classic battle between youth and experience or, as Google likes to believe, good and evil."
Multi-part, multifaceted Wired cover story series on Google.