Goodbye MSN Search … Hello Windows Live

Filed in Bing, Local Search by Matt McGee on September 12, 2006 0 Comments

MSN’s struggling search engine, which has been stuck in a distant 3rd since it debuted in early 2005, has a new name, a new look, and what appears to be a new ranking algorithm. Unfortunately, they’ve tied its name to the Windows brand, which is a turn-off for a lot of people.

Nonetheless, say hello to Windows Live Search. It’ll be powering 100% of MSN searches by Thursday.

Quick first impressions: the algorithm is better than what we saw on MSN Search. Sure, there’s still spam, but not as much as before. I like to use real estate searches because 1) my wife’s an agent, and 2) it’s a competitive field with lots of junk/spam … and on my early [cityname real estate] searches for this area, the new MSN results are comparable in quality to Google, and better than Yahoo.

(Others are not so generous with the new SERPs, by the way. Your mileage may vary.)

Of particular note to me and many SBS readers is that the local search, called Windows Live Local, now has expanded “Birdseye” photos and a new “business details” display page. I also discovered one nice tool in the search settings: a place for you to tell the search engine where you’re currently located.

MSN settings

This should, presumably, help Windows Live Search provide better local results from wherever you happen to be searching. I’m curious to see how it might impact the SERPs overall, and plan to do a little digging on this.

Ultimately, the jury is out on what impact this’ll have on market share. MSN has a long road to hoe to catch up to Yahoo, much less Google.

What are your thoughts on the new Windows Live Search? How do the SERPs in your industry look? What have you discovered so far, and what will you be watching in the future?

Related stories:
MSN Blog announcement: Live Search is Live
SearchDay: Microsoft Upgrades Live Search Offerings
Greg Sterling: Windows Live Local Better, But Still Not There
ClickZ: Windows Live Search comes out of beta

[tags]microsoft, search, search engines, msn, windows live search, local search, windows live local[/tags]

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