Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google and Microsoft Understand the Power of the Default

Users are drawn to defaults, but vendors fight for choice...

"In response to a new feature in Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 7 web browser, Google has issued a complaint with the Justice Department that the browser doesn’t give users enough choice because it defaults to using the MSN web search, according to this NYTimes piece.

The new feature, a search box located in the top right hand corner of the browser window, is very similar to the ones currently included on other existing browsers. Here is what the feature looks like in my browser of choice, Firefox:

The feature allows users to type in a search query without first going to a search engine’s homepage. In this example, the search engine that will be used for the search is Google, which is also the default in Firefox. However, using the tiny dropdown arrow I can select from other search engines, including Yahoo and Amazon’s A9. In Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft will be using their own search engine, MSN Search, as the default. Microsoft does not have a search box in its current browser: IE 6.

There’s the rub. Even though the current crop of browsers with search boxes default to Google, Google doesn’t want Microsoft to be able to default to their own search engine. And for good reason, as this would dramatically affect users who make millions of search queries every day."   continued ...   (Via UIE)



Users will usually stick with the defaults- User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Users will usually stick with the defaults

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