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Jon Meyer,

December 15, 2004

Google's Vision is better than Microsoft's

Google today announced their project to scan millions of library projects today and make them available through the browser (full story).

Not to be outdone, Microsoft announced their search toolbar (another beta of course !).

Google's announcement is part of their stated vision to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" [1]. Its a reasonably concrete and exciting idea.

Vision statements are important. In the early days, Microsoft had a compelling vision: "a PC on every desk and in every home" [2]. Microsoft's mission propelled them for a long time. You could argue that they have achieved their early vision.

What is Microsoft's vision today? To "help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential" [3]. Or, in marketing-speak, "Your potential, our passion".

As vision statements go, this is as equivocal as you can get. How do you measure success with a statement like that? What exactly doesn't fall under the rubric of "realizing your potential"? A good breakfast cereal would help you "realize your full potential", probably more so than many of Microsoft's products. The phrase "Your potential, our passion" isn't even good English.

On that strength along, I should buy some Google shares.