Source : Australian IT

BILL Gates has promised that search engines would be 10 times more sophisticated in the future and computers would be far better able to recognise the voice of their user. The founder and chairman of Microsoft outlined his company’s upcoming clash with Google – the household name in search engines – for ownership of the internet search market. Mr Gates said in Sydney that Microsoft was poised to put more smarts into its search tools.

Promising to make search “10 times better than it is today”, Mr Gates said the rate of improvement in search as Microsoft competed with Google would be “highly beneficial to consumers”. “We were in Internet search before Google was founded,” he said. “The way search is done today is very low-tech – basically you take a bunch of words and make an index. Some of the false hits you get are a little humorous.”

Whilst in Sydney Gates held a press conference giving his predictions for the future of computer technology. He said computers would soon be able to clearly and quickly recognise users by their voices. And computers would easily recognise different types of handwriting on their screens in future, meaning keyboards would become unnecessary. He said Microsoft was working hard to perfect both technologies – with only crude and unreliable forms available now.

Mr Gates also predicted tablet PCs – portable computers with touch screens instead of keyboards – would catch on with consumers. Launched with much fanfare in November 2002, the tablet PC was supposed to redefine mobile computing. But sales so far have proved under whelming – in their first year on the Australian market, tablet sales sat at just 6310 units, a tiny fraction of the notebook market. “It’s going to take time but tablet will be the mainstream thing,” said Gates, promising to cut the price.