Live Search Overhauled And Over-hyped?

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Search]

Microsoft’s Live Search overhaul is, to understate it, aggressive, and their presentation of it dazzling to the point of euphoric. Their aim: To reclaim territory thought by some to be irretrievably lost to Google. And they believe they’ve done it, at least technologically. All that remains to be seen is if the searching public will respond.

And that’s a big if. 

Live Search Overhauled And Over-hyped?
Live Search Overhauled And Over-hyped?

Nevertheless, Microsoft is throwing next-generation technology terms around as though the public is ready to hear them: Live Search algorithms use neural networking ranking, modeled after biological neural networks, capable of learning and differentiating between natural language patterns.

Now’s the time to take the Blue Pill, if you have one. 

However they’ve gone about it, Satya Nadella, Corporate Vice President for Search and Advertising, says they’ve matched Google in relevancy and have surpassed Yahoo. Relevancy, it just so happens, accounted for 91 percent of user dissatisfaction, so it made sense to focus on that the most.

They did so by looking at the searcher behavior patterns and user feedback, and used that information to structure the results so that they were better tailored to those patterns. The biggest expansion in the results comes in four categories, where 40 percent of all searches lie: Entertainment; Shopping; Health; and Local.

They divided search sessions into three main types:

    Targeted search – Searchers looking for specific answers; high frequency, short sessions
    Discovery – Otherwise known as navigation: shopping, research, high interest searching
    Exploration-type – No specific goal, general searches for sports, hobbies, gossip

But they also found that 40 percent of queries went unanswered, and that half of them required further refinement. So, with all that in mind (and much, much more, we presume, that won’t fit in this space) the first of Microsoft’s biannual updates to Live Search includes these updates/improvements:

Quadrupled the size of the index

"Streamlined" the look and feel of the results, and increased page-load speed

Auto-spell correction, with the option of leaving search misspelled

Better stop word handling (sometimes you need the "the" when searching: Office or The Office)

More high-interest, vertical content:

  • Entertainment – Entertainment news and celebrity "instant answers" with images facts, and a new xRank celebrity ranking, a current popularity measure
  • Shopping – Pulls in products along with reviews, guides, prices; Live Search Products is powered by Microsoft’s "Opinion Index" technology that summarizes "the sentiment of the Web about a product."
  • Health – Organizes health content from trusted sources and allows searchers to refine searches
  • Local – Allows searchers to peruse local business listings and reviews.

A new video search feature with mouse-over motion previews in the SERPs

Live Search Scopes allow people to see search results from Web pages, local maps and directions, images, videos

without the need to re-enter the same query each time or to leave the page.

Live Search Academic enables people to search through academic information and journals, including computer

science, engineering and physics journals.

Live Search Books – an index of information from printed material

Live Search QnA enables searchers to ask and answer questions

Live Search Macros is a tool that allows consumers to create their own custom search engines or use customizations created by others who share their interests to make their searches more relevant to them.

Updates to Live Search are expected every fall and spring, with more enhancements expected especially in the mobile and maps realms.

Local proves to be a huge area for expansion in search, and it looks like the search engines are really looking to beef that part of the experience up. Yesterday, Microsoft also announced a major deal to serve local advertising to the Associated Press’s 1,800 local online video affiliates.

In addition, Microsoft plans to release "Live Search Webmaster Portal" into public beta later this year, a resource center similar to Google’s Webmaster Central and Yahoo’s Site Explorer.

As to whether this is, finally, the true competition that has been awaiting Google, well…time will tell if the public raises as much fanfare as Microsoft has. Our own Doug Caverly is thus far unimpressed; others just echo what we already know – they’ll have to prove it. 

And hope Google doesn’t do something crazy in the meantime.

Live Search Overhauled And Over-hyped?
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.peoplequiz.com Dave

    Even if they’ve improved their search quality, I think the results will be a little like the the current situation in the foriegn versus domestic auto industry: The quality gap has shrunk alot, but its taking a bit longer for the public to realize it. So either way I wouldn’t expect everyone to rush over to Microsoft search anytime soon.

  • http://www.osgfx.com scott Adie

    Time, user feedback and acceptance will reveal the success of Live Search’s updates. One things for sure, SEO’s and Web Techs everywhere will be quick to capitalize on the revenue genertated when they convince their clients that they need to adapt their web sites to be more compatible with Live Search’s new functionality. If you measure success, as most of us do, in terms of revenue and/or cost savings, some of us will love it and some will hate it. Personally, I don’t care.

  • http://site.massageforadults.com/blog1/ Kathleen

    I simply can’t see Google being toppled or usurped in any way..at least not anytime soon.

  • http://www.netnettech.com Steve Douglas

    As far as I can tell their dead to the Internet. MS deserves a couple of slaps between open-source and Google.

  • http://cadgrafx.com Daniel Hughes

    My LIVE is set to go directly to the webpage I type; yet it always brings up this annoying list of pages that “it” thinks I need to choose from. ARRRGH!

    Google still has its spot in my explorer window as my address bar refuses revision to override the use of LIVE….

    Overhyped….I work not to use it; Google and Yahoo much preferred.

    Agressive; yes. I want the choice to use the previous mode or if I choose to update with this new mode…..it’s about choice.

    So now I choose Google…or Yahoo.

  • http://www.surreypcsupport.co.uk Allan Devereux

    The intention to implement a webmaster portal is welcome. As for Live Search, we will indeed have to wait and see. Not least because of the last launch with dazzling and euphoric presentation, Vista.

    I can only speak for the UK but in a sense, this is Microsoft’s barrier to promoting Live Search, loss of trust. Just came off the phone to one of our clients, who needed a little help taking Vista off his new laptop, to install XP. He is part of a very long list.

    At least Microsoft now offer XP reversion in certain circumstances but they need to swallow the pill, make Vista universally optional. A good step to reinstating belief in their company.

    Until they do this, wouldn’t really matter if Live Search could find your product and go to the shop to pick it up for you.

    Allan Devereux

    Surrey PC Support

  • Bruce

    My newest site has been indexed and currently showing in Google. A few pages are in Yahoo and MSN still has no listings shown. If I check my logs, I get a lot of MSN searches for really generic terms that, when I check them out, I don’t show up. I hope they get it together soon, but if this is the new & improved version…

  • http://www.adversityovercome.com/pages/home.htm James Chapman

    Microsoft needed to do something, because live search had become dead search in terms of relevance.
    Only time will tell if users will leave Google and come back to live search, but it will need a very impressive difference and a strong incentive to pull users away from what is for many the very familiar and user friendly search experience of Google.
    And Google is not going to just stand still and watch of course, after all they are just celebrating their ninth birthday.

  • Scott Jones

    Gee, who’d have ever thought anything out of the Microsoft stable could be overhyped and underperforming? Newxt you might be suggesting there are some doubts about George Bush’s presidency

  • http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/innovation-blog.html Braden Kelley

    For better or worse, Microsoft chose to launch before actually launching all of the functionality.

    Everybody talks about how innovative Google is, but Microsoft’s Video and Image search kicks Google’s keister. Live Search’s relevance is much improved from its early days and the new indexes haven’t even launched yet.

    It will be interesting to see how their announcement plays out in the real world. We’ll all benefit as searchers with three strong players in the market.

  • Vic

    Microsoft can take Google to the cleaners anytime. They just haven’t been smart about it. They own the OS. A big search box in the middle of IE toolbar with a grandma proof 20 inch font, relevant results, and heavy offline advertising would do it. They need to listen more, target, and take advice from aunt Clareese looking for her favorite cooking recipe and not from “Microsoft is evil” Firefox geeks. I love and use Firefox by the way but not everybody uses it.

    Call me an incoherent moron if you wish but I love two things in life. www.webpronews.com and www.roydmercer.com

  • sofakingdabest

    Does it make coffee?

  • Peter Morffew

    It seems that we are expected to trust Microsoft to come up with the goods in searching the internet. The only reason that Microsoft have now paid attention is they think they have fallen behind the competition, i.e. Google.
    Microsoft is one of the leading companies in IT world wide and they should be ahead of trends and ideas. They ship most of the software world wide. They develop their own programming language which we are all expected to keep up with.
    But Microsoft do not act as a world leader they just follow the others.
    Personally I use one main search engine for internet my searches which I have never had any trouble getting the answers I want.
    Alta Vista quietly sits back and delivers the goods. I can translate on Alta Vista, I get asked if the correct word I wanted was XYXYX, this is done without correcting my typing.
    The info or websites I want are usally on the first page, i.e. the first 20 websites.
    My wife uses Google as many others do and has trouble finding what she wants.
    So the cometition is not over hyped Google but those who give you what you want in the first 20 not the first 500,000.
    Well done Alta Vista.

  • http://www.monumentventures.com Perry Adams

    I’m not technical so the searches I do are only for buying and obtaining information for my business, but I find Google is much to “cleaver” on their searches. They do SO much to defeat the web sites that are trying to game their search results that the results my searches get on Google are often totally irrelevant to the topic. I don’t know if Live Search will make a come back but the results I get from Live Search are certainly much better than Google’s.

  • http://realfauxfloors.com ernesto mercado

    My default browser is firefox/google, I use explorer only when I must, hopefully, that will become never.

  • http://www.cosmicperl.com Lyle Hopkins

    For my main keyword they are now returning me for the top 2 positions, so I can certainly agree that the technology is there :)

    Google got so popular because the searches returned what people were looking for. If live is giving people what they want to find then they will start using it… Can’t say how many though…

  • George Williams

    Like all Microsoft products, way overhyped, with typical under-delivery.

    Other than Google, use http://clusty.com quite frequently. http://hakia.com/ looks interesting as does http://mahalo.com (which consists of all human-inputted search results). Naturally, I visit Wikipedia and DMOZ often.

    http://www.kartoo.com is interesting due to it’s visual presentation (not totally unique, but ‘fun’ nonetheless).

    It would be nice to finally see something unique, innovative and, dare I say leading-edge – from MS, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • George Williams

      http://www.powerset.com/ also looks interesting. Let’s hope the state of web search is being upgraded due to increased competition.

  • kanat

    Live search reminds of the first year of Altavista. It’s a destination you go, Yes it does search the web, Yes it brings some stuff for the results, but man, SO IRRELEVANT. But ofcourse Relevancy is if you know what else is out there that does not show up. If you don’t know if it’s relevant or not you might as well accept the fact that The WEB does not have what I’m looking for.
    Live Search a lot of bells and whistles which really does not mean anything if the basic search is irrelevant. If you are not CREDIBLE, why should someone use it. Better yet, why would any business ADVERTISE with live. My company does not. Live search engine is out of control. Support engineers have a lot of unanswered questions. Its like an animal that no body know what will do. Sorry to say it. Before LIVE search can compete with Google A NEW MINDSET has to be implemented. THIS IS NOT AN OPERATING SYSTEM. IT’S SEARCH. Makers of operating systems should step away…

  • http://www.mazreplacementparts.com/mazda-car-cover.html mazda car cover

    i think one imp0rtant factor is to have a big distinction between features of live search with google. As the story goes, it should be very technological.

  • http://www.vkinfotek.com vb

    Our site returns in the top ten for keyword ‘visual basic’ in msn !

    Quite happy.

    Hoping this will convert to traffic !

  • TA Liner

    It is over hyped, it is missing pages that were on top at MSN search. One site that I visit daily is a college football news site.

    Suddenly it just disappeared from Live. It was the top listing for three years, now it is not listed. Go to Google or Yahoo and it is still the top site.

    Tell’s me it is another piece of nothing like Vista is, junk.

  • Aways World

        From what everybody is suggesting Live Search and it’s other services are alot better than Google and Yhaoo. For exmple on their image search they create scratchpad which is a huge leap. When I need to find mages the scrathpad helps me so much. I have also found that the Maps are alot clearer and you can do more with them and ther are more up to date. But what has Microsoft gone and done they’ve gone and replaced the UK Maps page with the crappy Mulit-Map. It was made by a 4 year old.   

              Recently in MicroMart I recently read about the number of users using certain social networking sites. I was shocked to see how close Windows Live Spaces was to FaceBook in the number of users it had. Windows Live Search is great but there are massive flaws in it and Microsoft should start listening to consumers and reply to their comments.


  • http://www.therescueteam.com The Rescue Team

    As a computer repair tech, I’ve gotten many calls from clients concerned something was wrong when their homepage (MSN) suddenly redirected to live.

  • http://www.claytoncomputer.net Steved314

    Where is it now?

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom