Cue up “Hells Bells.” Microsoft has launched its new search technology (doesn’t seem to be working right now, though). Earlier this week, I attended the AdTech conference in New York and overheard lots of “corporate white dudes” talking about this. You know the guys – khaki pants, light blue button-down shirts. It cracks me up how much they play the part so well. I mean, they really might as well point and wink to each other across the hall. Obnoxious.

Anyway, one thing I love to do at these things is eavesdrop on conversations. Why not? I’m not really out looking to steal any secret data from anyone, I’m just audibly voyeuristic, I suppose. In fact, I get more joy out of hearing bits and pieces of non-professional conversations. Part of my fascination with sociology.

I have, on occasion in the past, overheard people talking about Ask Jeeves (my employer) and this is very interesting. The level of misinformation out there is simply flummoxing on so many levels. It goes both ways, meaning I’ve heard people say very disparaging things which are simply not true and other things that make us look quite good that we probably shouldn’t get credit for. That’s why I love these conferences – many of these folks just have no idea what’s going on. I’m probably one of them, but at least I keep my mouth shut and don’t act like a know-it-all. It’s an upper middle-class romper room.

So what was I talking about? Oh yeah – Microsoft. I managed to catch some rumblings at the conference about MSN turning Google into the next Netscape, i.e., a major internet player reduced to a bit part as a paper mache tree in the sixth grade school play. Not gonna happen, kids. Don’t even dream it. Netscape didn’t build up the stunning mindshare that Google has in its possession today, nor did they give people something to identify with. Their technology is not their strongest asset at this point. Others can do it, and are. Arguably, some are doing it better. My plumber, for example, who finally showed up yesterday after three weeks of delays, offered up the opinion that he thinks Ask Jeeves is the best engine out there. He said so before I told him where I worked. Anyway, Google’s asset lies in people’s brains. Microsoft might still have it, but they have it the way Roger Clemens has it – a old war horse who clearly remains capable. There’s many others out there who have a healthy head start here – the Mark Prior’s of the world, to continue the baseball thread – and those companies are innovating in search, RSS and blogging in ways we can’t even imagine right now. Technorati, Bloglines, Pluck – they’re all doing some great stuff. So Google, meet Microsoft. Microsoft, Google. Have fun with your press war.

Also, in a not-no-subtle and timely PR move, Google announced today that they have doubled the size of thier index, meaning they now claim they are scanning more of the web. It would have been a better move to just ignore the MSN rollout, really. See my note about romper room.

Oh, goodness! In much more interesting news, I saw the new 2005 Ford Mustang this morning. I saw at the Ford Dealership and I had to stop, get out, and examine it. Whoa Nellie! These things are gonna fly off the lot. They’re beautiful cars. I love the whole “let’s build it retro” movement with cars these days. It’s priced well, too, pretty much no different than a mid-size sedan. Let’s hope they’ve improved the quality of the car, which has taken a beating over the past few years from Consumer forums. It looks really, really nice, but so did Elizabeth Taylor once.

Song now playing: Anders Parker – “Feel The Same”