Microsoft revamps Windows Live search, eyes Google

Seeking to narrow the gap with Google, Microsoft Corp unveiled a retooled Web search service that aims to deliver more relevant results and combines text, video and other information onto a single page. Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said Windows Live search is now on an even technology footing with offerings from rival search engines after years of playing catch-up since it started developing its own Web search in 2003.

Its new presentation is in line with an industry trend to step beyond traditional text links, with unified search results that offer Web sites, news, pictures and video on one page. Rivals Google Inc and Ask.com made similar changes this year, and Yahoo Inc is moving in that direction.

"Microsoft is realistic. It doesn't think it's going to wake up tomorrow and overtake Google," said Allen Weiner, an analyst at research firm Gartner. "Right now, Microsoft wants to establish itself more firmly with its existing users."

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News source: Reuters

and these are the changes, taken from the Live Search Blog:

This week we're excited to launch a major update to Live Search that's relevant, faster and easier to use. Hundreds of us rolled up our sleeves and dug deep. We pored over your feedback, analyzed the data and talked to thousands of users. How major is this? It's our biggest update since our debut in January 2005.

Here are just some of the areas we focused on:

  • Relevance, relevance, relevance. We've quadrupled the size of our index, which means we can return the right results for your searches. Improvements like enhanced ranking algorithms, auto-spell correction and better stop word handling help us return the best results.
  • Speed. Pages load much faster than before.
  • Streamlined look and feel. We focused on the end-to-end experience from the homepage throughout the site. For example, search results are now easier to read thanks to work on typography, contrast, colors and spacing.
  • More high-interest content. You asked us for more in Entertainment, Shopping, Health, Local and Video search and we're happy to deliver it.
In the coming weeks we'll blog in detail about the improvements that we've made. You can also check out the press release that just hit the wire and the fact sheet for more information.

The end result is a service we believe is better across the board. Enjoy! We're psyched hear what you think.**

-The Live Search team

**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!

News source: Live Search Blog

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...And the crickets again come out in droves for Microsoft's latest Windows Live release .... as the rest of the web keeps moving on.