Radio UserLand developer joins Microsoft’s Live.com team

One of the nice calls I've received over the past couple of days came last night as my brothers and I were walking around downtown Billings. It was from Jake Savin. He told me he had just started working on the Live.com team at Microsoft and had just moved up to Seattle. Awesome. Jake and I worked together at UserLand (he was one of the developers on Radio UserLand, and is a pioneer in blogging and Internet software).

At the very moment I was talking to Jake on the phone, we came to Jake's restaurant here in Billings. I thought that was very weird, so I shot a photo and sent it up to Flickr.

I see that the New York Times is putting us in the middle of a talent war with Google. Alright Jake, this war is all on your shoulders now. Heheh.

Jake's (the restaurant) is already demonstrating one way that search could be made better. Search for "Jake's Billings MT" and you only get reviews and intermediaries and noise. Does this restaurant have a Web site? We don't know for sure unless we dig through page after page of reviews and do several different searches. Here's the results:

On Live.com. On Google. I like the infinite scroll on Live.com, by the way. One thing we learned from our research with users is that most people don't click on the "next page" link. So, we got rid of it. We're now finding that people who use Live.com look at more search results than they used to.

Jake's restaurant

Comments

  1. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  2. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  3. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  4. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  5. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  6. Friends of mine are putting together a Social Food and Travel Site, a unique concept. Go to Gusto.com, I can’t guarantee you will see Jakes, but you do have the power to add them as a favorite restaurant, or write a review.

  7. Me? I liked the Google a LOT better. It worked when I tried it in Safari. Infinite scroll sounds good, but not when you can’t see it.
    ;-)

    tqii

  8. Me? I liked the Google a LOT better. It worked when I tried it in Safari. Infinite scroll sounds good, but not when you can’t see it.
    ;-)

    tqii

  9. Me? I liked the Google a LOT better. It worked when I tried it in Safari. Infinite scroll sounds good, but not when you can’t see it.
    ;-)

    tqii

  10. Me? I liked the Google a LOT better. It worked when I tried it in Safari. Infinite scroll sounds good, but not when you can’t see it.
    ;-)

    tqii

  11. The google one provided the exact info you would need for me – a link to Google Local for the correct restaurant – that page had a link to the restaurants web site. (www.jakes.tv)

    The live one didn’t have this automatic link, and when I clicked on “Local” it changed the search to “Jake s” in “Billing, MT” which doesn’t work. “Jakes” doesn’t work either, and on my third try jake’s (without the quotes) finally returned me the result. Then click took me to a details page which finally had the website linked on it.

    Not brilliant :)

  12. The google one provided the exact info you would need for me – a link to Google Local for the correct restaurant – that page had a link to the restaurants web site. (www.jakes.tv)

    The live one didn’t have this automatic link, and when I clicked on “Local” it changed the search to “Jake s” in “Billing, MT” which doesn’t work. “Jakes” doesn’t work either, and on my third try jake’s (without the quotes) finally returned me the result. Then click took me to a details page which finally had the website linked on it.

    Not brilliant :)

  13. That’s a shining example of why I like Google’s onebox results. The first onebox result leads to the location of the restaurant on Google map, which includes the link to the restaurant’s website – jakes.tv

  14. That’s a shining example of why I like Google’s onebox results. The first onebox result leads to the location of the restaurant on Google map, which includes the link to the restaurant’s website – jakes.tv

  15. We’ll ignore the fact that Live took around 15 seconds to display the results, vs. around 1 second for Google. Infinite scroll is a cool idea and reasonably well implemented. The scroll bar doesn’t give one a good visual cue as to where one is relative to the whole result set (not that this is particularly relevant).

    In comparison, Google’s page navigation looks rather stupid. Why, when I get the first page of results am I given the option to navigate to other than the next page? Who in their right mind would say “I don’t see what I want on the first page, let me skip to page 7 and see what’s there?” :-|

    Speaking of stupid — is the slider control at the top right of the Live results really necessary? Or is this just another case of engineers running the show with a “let’s do it because we can” attitude?

    Also, what’s the purpose of the “+add to live.com”? I thought I was already on live.com. Oh, you mean add it to my personalized home page on live.com. Why didn’t you say so? This still begs the question as to why I would want search results on my home page. I guess it’s because the engineers could do it. :-)

    For some previous reactions I’ve had to live.com, check out: http://wymanator.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_wymanator_archive.html

  16. We’ll ignore the fact that Live took around 15 seconds to display the results, vs. around 1 second for Google. Infinite scroll is a cool idea and reasonably well implemented. The scroll bar doesn’t give one a good visual cue as to where one is relative to the whole result set (not that this is particularly relevant).

    In comparison, Google’s page navigation looks rather stupid. Why, when I get the first page of results am I given the option to navigate to other than the next page? Who in their right mind would say “I don’t see what I want on the first page, let me skip to page 7 and see what’s there?” :-|

    Speaking of stupid — is the slider control at the top right of the Live results really necessary? Or is this just another case of engineers running the show with a “let’s do it because we can” attitude?

    Also, what’s the purpose of the “+add to live.com”? I thought I was already on live.com. Oh, you mean add it to my personalized home page on live.com. Why didn’t you say so? This still begs the question as to why I would want search results on my home page. I guess it’s because the engineers could do it. :-)

    For some previous reactions I’ve had to live.com, check out: http://wymanator.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_wymanator_archive.html

  17. The Live example took so much more time to load the page, which was then further compounded by even more loading to get the results.

    Kalu

  18. The Live example took so much more time to load the page, which was then further compounded by even more loading to get the results.

    Kalu

  19. I like the infinite scroll too, but I echo the comments about the load time for the live.com page.

    Another thing that is a minor annoyance is the “offset” argument in the URL @ live.com. I scrolled down for a little while, not realizing I was incrementing the offset all the way to 18. So I would have had to hit the Back button 18 times to get back to your post. Yikes.

  20. I like the infinite scroll too, but I echo the comments about the load time for the live.com page.

    Another thing that is a minor annoyance is the “offset” argument in the URL @ live.com. I scrolled down for a little while, not realizing I was incrementing the offset all the way to 18. So I would have had to hit the Back button 18 times to get back to your post. Yikes.

  21. Live (dead?) doesn’t work in Safari – Come. On. This is a basic page, not some complex ajaxy or even active x.

    The Google search worked great, map, phone number etc.

  22. Live (dead?) doesn’t work in Safari – Come. On. This is a basic page, not some complex ajaxy or even active x.

    The Google search worked great, map, phone number etc.

  23. I met Jake a million years ago when I was profiling Dave Winer for Wired…if I remember correctly, he used to play in a band called Painting over Picasso…

  24. I met Jake a million years ago when I was profiling Dave Winer for Wired…if I remember correctly, he used to play in a band called Painting over Picasso…

  25. I kinda liked the infinite scroll but it seemed a bit buggy at times (sudden jumps). Still the idea is neat.

    The ‘smooth’ scroll wasn’t that smooth, and I can imagine the effect would be more pronounced on slower computers.

    Still it looked quite slick.

    People complaining about long load times: on one side I feel your pain, but on the other hand: when have you known MS to care about slow net users and slow hardware? EVERY iteration of its OS was designed to take advantage of and run most comfortable on the latest and greatest hardware. Vista pushes this to new limits. And why should it be surprising that MSs approach to the web is no different?

    And I think the search market can bear both: the clean no-frills for the purists, and the bells-and-whistles for, well, other people :)

  26. I kinda liked the infinite scroll but it seemed a bit buggy at times (sudden jumps). Still the idea is neat.

    The ‘smooth’ scroll wasn’t that smooth, and I can imagine the effect would be more pronounced on slower computers.

    Still it looked quite slick.

    People complaining about long load times: on one side I feel your pain, but on the other hand: when have you known MS to care about slow net users and slow hardware? EVERY iteration of its OS was designed to take advantage of and run most comfortable on the latest and greatest hardware. Vista pushes this to new limits. And why should it be surprising that MSs approach to the web is no different?

    And I think the search market can bear both: the clean no-frills for the purists, and the bells-and-whistles for, well, other people :)

  27. Inifinite scrolling for Live.com isn’t too well implemented. The page load time is noticeably longer than you would have to wait for a normal length page to load. I don’t know why users would want to look at more search results either (apparently your reason for removing the next page link) — I want the right result fast. I do not want to have to do all the search engines work manually.

    Improve search quality — then you wouldn’t need to serve an infinite number of results for people to find what they are after.

  28. I wonder if your post will show up for the Jake’s search in a few days when it gets indexed in? Fun with search.

    Was the food good, did you go there?

  29. Inifinite scrolling for Live.com isn’t too well implemented. The page load time is noticeably longer than you would have to wait for a normal length page to load. I don’t know why users would want to look at more search results either (apparently your reason for removing the next page link) — I want the right result fast. I do not want to have to do all the search engines work manually.

    Improve search quality — then you wouldn’t need to serve an infinite number of results for people to find what they are after.

  30. Agreed the Live site needs a equal to onebox in Google.

    Funny enough though doing this same search on search.msn.com brought quick results exactly like google, top spot with all relevant info like google and clicking on msn local also provides the map and a link to Local.live

    So as far as presentation search.msn seems just as good as google with that respect

  31. Agreed the Live site needs a equal to onebox in Google.

    Funny enough though doing this same search on search.msn.com brought quick results exactly like google, top spot with all relevant info like google and clicking on msn local also provides the map and a link to Local.live

    So as far as presentation search.msn seems just as good as google with that respect

  32. just one more comment speaking about live

    When you search images in live it is very well implemented, if you click on a image it shows it to you on the right side with all the relevant images list on the left with the infinite scroll, they should do the same with web searching.

    click on a link that then renders in the right side box, with all other links to search on the left still with infinite scroll, that would provide a nice clean search workflow and you could even intergrate a similair google onebox feature on the upper left? And have cached page thumbnails like the image search does it.

    simply put: make live web searches exactly the way it handles live image searches, which currently is the best handling I think of any image search engine

  33. just one more comment speaking about live

    When you search images in live it is very well implemented, if you click on a image it shows it to you on the right side with all the relevant images list on the left with the infinite scroll, they should do the same with web searching.

    click on a link that then renders in the right side box, with all other links to search on the left still with infinite scroll, that would provide a nice clean search workflow and you could even intergrate a similair google onebox feature on the upper left? And have cached page thumbnails like the image search does it.

    simply put: make live web searches exactly the way it handles live image searches, which currently is the best handling I think of any image search engine

  34. I like the concept of infinite scroll – very clever! However, I have to agree with others, particularly #7, that the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. When I wanted to come back to your post, I had to hit the “back” button so many times. I understand why, but a normal user won’t and will find this behavior confusing and annoying. As others have said, it’s also too slow and very jerky.

    Bottom line: cool idea, but if it can’t be implemented in a better way you are better off not doing it at all.

  35. I like the concept of infinite scroll – very clever! However, I have to agree with others, particularly #7, that the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. When I wanted to come back to your post, I had to hit the “back” button so many times. I understand why, but a normal user won’t and will find this behavior confusing and annoying. As others have said, it’s also too slow and very jerky.

    Bottom line: cool idea, but if it can’t be implemented in a better way you are better off not doing it at all.

  36. Kent -

    Actually it is an Ajax page. How do you think they do the scrollbar and other fancy stuff?

    Safari doesn’t support the necessary standards to work with Live.com. The Live.com team worked with the Mozilla and Opera folks to get everything covered (including improvements to Opera 9). But the Safari team wasn’t interested. So maybe you should raise your complaints with them?

  37. Kent -

    Actually it is an Ajax page. How do you think they do the scrollbar and other fancy stuff?

    Safari doesn’t support the necessary standards to work with Live.com. The Live.com team worked with the Mozilla and Opera folks to get everything covered (including improvements to Opera 9). But the Safari team wasn’t interested. So maybe you should raise your complaints with them?

  38. The live.com search scroll bar is by far my favorite. I love that damn thing. Now if we could get the live.com front page to quit freezing my IE! :O)

  39. The live.com search scroll bar is by far my favorite. I love that damn thing. Now if we could get the live.com front page to quit freezing my IE! :O)

  40. The ‘infinite’ scroll bar still needs some work. Currently it’s a bit alien in concept and paging has been the favoured technique. I don’t like thw way that the scrollbar keeps ‘jumping’ when you scroll to the bottom. That definitely needs some work.

    However, the concept is good and if it means that more people are delving into the deeper search results then fine. Does this imply though that Live.com search is not as good at finding relevant content than Google? Therefore some way of getting people to look at the extended search results was needed?

  41. The ‘infinite’ scroll bar still needs some work. Currently it’s a bit alien in concept and paging has been the favoured technique. I don’t like thw way that the scrollbar keeps ‘jumping’ when you scroll to the bottom. That definitely needs some work.

    However, the concept is good and if it means that more people are delving into the deeper search results then fine. Does this imply though that Live.com search is not as good at finding relevant content than Google? Therefore some way of getting people to look at the extended search results was needed?

  42. [...] Ok. So the Web 2.0 Portal, OS and application space really starts to hot up. I’ve been tracking Windows Live, Netvibes, PagesFlakes in the Web 2.0 Portal space and have commented on each one individually in the past. Live continues to be tweaked, but for me is still very slow and I’m still not convinced about the ‘infinite scrollbar’ on the search page. (See my comment on the Scobleizer’s blog. Indeed most people comment on the implementation of the infinite scrollbar. For me, good idea just poorly executed at the moment. [...]

  43. Not sure if I’ve missed something, but isn’t the Live version just a, er, frame? It nobbled my browser scroll bar and made me use its own intra-page scrolly thing… Yuk.

    And why do I want “infinite” results — if a search engine can’t tell me what I want in 10 (or ideally 3!) results then it’s not doing its job.

  44. Not sure if I’ve missed something, but isn’t the Live version just a, er, frame? It nobbled my browser scroll bar and made me use its own intra-page scrolly thing… Yuk.

    And why do I want “infinite” results — if a search engine can’t tell me what I want in 10 (or ideally 3!) results then it’s not doing its job.

  45. The infinite scroll does not allow me to use the spacebar to page. It also has the disadvantage of not allowing me to go up the page (or to a particular page) to look for a link. Not a feature I like.

  46. The infinite scroll does not allow me to use the spacebar to page. It also has the disadvantage of not allowing me to go up the page (or to a particular page) to look for a link. Not a feature I like.

  47. [...] In questo modo, la pagina continua ad allungarsi e non è necessario cliccare per scorrere i contenuti avanti e indietro. Lo stesso sistema è stato adottato da Live.com con il nome di infinite scrolling: “una cosa che abbiamo imparato dalle nostre ricerche con gli utenti – dice Robert Scoble, ex blogger di Microsoft – è che la maggior parte delle persone non clicca sul link ‘pagina successiva’. E allora ce ne siamo liberati, scoprendo che chi usa Live.com consulta più risultati di quanto non facesse con il sistema tradizionale.” [...]