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Live Search More Relevant Than Google? No.

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Microsoft has issued a major update to Live Search, and the Live Search Team claims that, compared to the old version, the new one is “relevant, faster and easier to use.”  Fair enough, but the question remains: is it more relevant, faster, and easier to use than Google?  The answer: no.

Live Search More Relevant Than Google? No.
Live Search More Relevant Than Google? No.

Microsoft made a good effort, anyway.  The Live Search team identifies the release as “our biggest update since our debut in January 2005,” and the list of upgraded features goes on and on.  Some of the highlights include a greatly increased index size, video previews, and an aesthetic redesign.

Microsoft also speaks of “[s]ignificant enhancements to core algorithms,” an “[e]xpansion of Rich Answers,” and – supposedly – “[s]ubstantial improvements in understanding queryintent [sic].”

But here’s where there are some noticeable problems.  After entering the word “dog” into Live Search, the number three result shows a paragraph from Wikipedia’s entry concerning digital on-screen graphics.  The fourth result is also from Wikipedia, and relates to the dog’s place as a zodiac animal.  Google+Search” title=”Google’s Results For "Dog"”>Google’s top ten results all connect to dogs in the sense of dachshunds, collies, and golden retrievers, which is what I had in mind.

Other tests also showed that Live Search isn’t quite up to snuff.  Maybe Microsoft will have better luck next time, though; Elinor Mills reports, “The company plans to release major updates every six months to one year…”

UPDATE: A note on the Live Search Blog reads, “The release is rolling out worldwide as we speak.  The links above should take you directly into the new experience if you’re not already seeing it on your own!”  So I clicked on the word “homepage” and carried out my little analyses from there.

A Microsoft spokesperson has contacted me, however, and said, “I think your results for the search ‘dog,’ might be based using the old index.  The new improved results will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so you may be seeing the old version.”

The spokesperson also provided a link in which Live Search’s dog-related results lacked all the Wikipedia weirdness, and continued, "Core updates to Live Search will begin rolling out to customers in the U.S., U.K., Japan and China the week of September 26th.  Other markets except for Hebrew, Arabic, Thai will become available beginning September 28th, with Hebrew, Arabic and Thai markets released in October."

Live Search More Relevant Than Google? No.
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  • http://www.artsanddesigns.com Jim P

    I’m not convinced that the MS results you described aren’t ‘better’ in the sense that they’re more expansive than Google’s: they cover alternative interpretations of the word ‘dog’, which, let’s face it, has a lot of alternative meanings, some of which are not very complimentary.

    It’s predictable that MS felt they had to issue a disclaimer. They can’t be open and honest even when it might be to their advantage.

    What’s surprising is that Windows Vista didn’t make it into the top ten in response to your query.