Live Search Continues Down Relevance Road

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The Live Search team at Microsoft has been working on making their centerpiece product more effective at recognizing equivalences, and knowing when ‘the’ needs to be part of the query.

Live Search Continues Down Relevance Road
Live Search Continues Down Relevance Road

Live Search team, where have you been all of Microsoft’s life? We know it took a few years for Bill Gates and company to recognize that the Internet had some potential. Did search have a similar hangover?

As they continue to break down what they have managed to do to improve their service, the Live Search team blogged about addressing a couple of common needs in search.

First they noted improved recognition of what they like to call equivalencies and what we like to call abbreviations. Live Search should be better at recognizing these, within the context of a query.

Then there are ‘stop words’, the little things like ‘the’, ‘an’, and ‘a’. These could be innocent bystanders to be ignored in a query. Or as the blog post said, they could be more important:

However, if your query was The Office (the title of a popular televisions (sic) show) it would be absolutely ridiculous to drop the word “the” since the query would essentially change meaning – and we received a lot of emails about how we were doing just that. In fact, previously we were routinely dropping all stop words – and knew this needed dramatic improvement.

Improving relevance does more than help searchers. It improves the advertising Microsoft can deliver to those searchers. The company wants a bigger chunk of the search advertising pie, but to get it, they have to make Live Search a better proposition for its users.

Live Search Continues Down Relevance Road
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