Yesterday I had a long talk about the search competition between Google and MSN. That competition is interesting, but so was the conversation, and what I can say about it. I was talking to a journo from a big-name mag that you see on every newsstand. He’d just been briefed by one of the search titans and wanted some insight from an independent search expert. The briefing was along the lines of “We’re gonna kill ’em dead because of X, Y, and Z” and he wanted my take on X, Y, and Z. Here’s the problem: X, Y, and Z are real interesting, and in particular it’s interesting that the vendor who’d briefed him thought they were important. But you know, I don’t think I can ethically say who the reporter was and who briefed him and what X, Y, and Z are, even though these are things that the vendor was trying to get published; because I didn’t think to ask the journo. Hmm, looks like I covered this ground once already, in August of 2003.