Microsoft Live Search Gets More Intuitive

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When you see a document riddled with typos and spelling errors, you may come to think of its author as sloppy or even stupid, but you’ll still be able to understand him.  A search engine, on the other hand, could balk at such mistakes.  Microsoft is trying to address this issue with two new features for Live Search.

The first is, as you might expect, a sort of spellchecker.  Type something that’s not quite right, and AutoSpell will incorporate results for the term it thinks you mean to use. 

Say a poor speller wanted to research a “volkswagon,” for example.  “Results are included for Volkswagen,” states the engine by way of correction.  Yet a particularly obstinate poor speller (or a person who was genuinely interested in the incorrect word) would have the option to “[s]how just the results for volkswagon.”

AutoSpell can’t account for every possible mistake, of course.  Still, it’s a handy feature to have.

Similarly, what the Live Search blog describes as “stemming” should be a useful improvement, even if it can’t cover everything.  “[U]sers told us that the search ‘half price book Redmond’ returned horrible results,” acknowledges the post. 

“Searching for ‘half price books Redmond’ produced much better results.  In our new release of Live Search, searches for ‘half price book Redmond’ automatically include results with books in them as well.”

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Google has been on top of both practices for quite some time now.  Google even includes a map of the area around the bookstore

Live Search is doing a decent job of catching up, but it has yet to accomplish anything that would pull users from one engine to the other.

Microsoft Live Search Gets More Intuitive
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