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September 12, 2006

Windows Live Search - Pretty, but Slow

Live Search Blog announces that Windows Live Search (formerly known as MSN Search) is now out of beta. It's interesting to see that they don't talk too much about the improvements in the relevancy of results, although their results seem better than last time I've tried MSN Search.

"Our goal was to give you search the way you want it, with more features you can customize, better relevance in your search results, and better vertical search experiences."

Most of the changes are in the interface: web search shows related queries like, image search shows more results and you can change the size of the thumbnails in real-time. There's also an interesting scratchpad in the right side of the results where you can save your favorite images; the idea is similar to Google Notebook, but you don't need a plug-in for that. Microsoft says that "Local Search is getting more robust every day and this release provides new or updated imagery for 25 U.S. cities, meaning we are covering about 30% of the U.S. population now".

An interesting idea that could be implemented by Google is their navigation bar, where you can select other search services, like: video search, product search and your selection is saved.

My biggest problem with Windows Live Search is that it's terribly slow, most of the times the results are displayed 3-4 times slower than in Google Search or Yahoo Search and that means they have problems with scalability. There are still a lot of spam / irrelevant results, but I think Microsoft is on the right track.

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