In the latest targeted release of Windows 10, Microsoft has enforced a policy of directing all searches to its CD-ROM encyclopedia product, Encarta.
Last Wednesday’s Windows 10 creators’ update showcased Microsoft’s new direction for search within the operating system. Search has long been a fierce battleground for tech giants, each trying to topple Google’s long-held stranglehold over the quest for information. Recent polls indicate Google has a market share of more than 67%, giving it unprecedented influence over the legitimacy of internet content.
Microsoft’s executive director of search experience, Dylan Chancellor, explained the move in an exclusive interview with The Gopher Files. “What we’re recognising today is that Bing isn’t as good as we thought it would be. We need search to be lightning fast, which just can’t be achieved with an online query.” To do this, Microsoft are proposing to redirect searches through Edge, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome to the 1996 version of Microsoft Encarta. “Our goal is for Windows to recognise the word goog and open up the splash screen of our flagship encyclopedia, Encarta“.
The use of an offline encyclopedia is a new strategy for Microsoft, given most laptops these days don’t even have a CD-ROM drive. Chancellor explained that this is likely to change in the near future, after an agreement was reached with HP, Dell, and Lenovo to ship all ultrabooks with an in-built drive. What wasn’t clear from Microsoft’s announcement was how they were going to update Encarta for ‘the internet’, given it entries hadn’t yet been made for Celine Dion, the Spice Girls and Tupac Shakur. Cramming most of Wikipedia onto a single CD also presents technical challenges, given the “complete” version of Encarta held just 62,000 articles.
Chancellor went on to say that the move was part of a broader push to embed Microsoft services in Windows – “Don’t even think about using Alexa or Siri. We’ve made major engineering changes to force Windows Mail to use Edge, and you can expect to see more from us in this area”. When pressed about which areas he meant, Chancellor responded “Windows, aren’t we talking about Windows?”
The interview ended with a hollow plea for feedback – “We look forward to receiving customer feedback about all the changes we make to Windows.” Included with the new version of Windows is a registration card and feedback form, giving the purchaser 7 days of free telephone and BBS support.