Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is working on a new project called BrowseRank. Given the success of the Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) PageRank on the web today, Microsoft is aiming to advance and distinguish an algorithm of their own.
Google PageRank determines the importance of a web page by the number of other web pages that link to it. Microsoft’s BrowseRank will focus on the number of visits made by users and the amount of time spent on websites.
“The more visits of the page made by the users and the longer time periods spent by the users on the page, the more likely the page is important. We can leverage hundreds of millions of users’ implicit voting on page importance,” stated BrowseRank researchers.
As Microsoft is trailing Google in the market for web search, the company is trying different methods to one-up Google. Microsoft recently acquired PowerSet, a semantic web search engine company. Microsoft also just made an agreement with Facebook to have Live Search integrated into the social network.
Microsoft addressed Google PageRank’s shortcomings in a research paper. The shortcomings were that PageRank has a hard time penalizing spam link farmers and that it doesn’t account for the time spent on a particular website.
Even if Microsoft discovers “a better algorithm,” they will continue to struggle in an uphill battle to take away market-share from Google. Google users have too much loyalty to switch now. Until something faster and better comes out, it’ll continue to be that way. It happened to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and it’ll eventually happen to Google. There is some high school kid out there that will build the next latest and greatest search engine in a few years. Then Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! will be trying to find out ways to take him or her on. It’s all cyclical.