Microsoft’s search a lot better than it used to be

Damn, I saw some people talking about how much better Microsoft’s Live Search was and I just tried a few searches and, indeed, it’s a lot better than it used to be. They’ve significantly closed the gap with Google.

How does it do on your favorite searches? I even picked out a random Windows API call and did a search on that. MSN used to always suck on those. But Live.com gets it right.

It’s also fast and the UI is nice. I think it matches Google all the way around on search.

Google is still slightly better on some searches (I think the result set on Google for Scrapbooking Blog is better than that on Live.com for Scrapbooking Blog, for instance). But, it’s much harder to tell the difference than it used to be. Live.com even does well with all my stock quotes (it used to be far less consistent than Google) and on my ego search for “scoble” Live.com is much better than Google (Live.com lists my current blog first, Google lists my blog that I haven’t posted to for a year first).

How does it do on your searches?

Now, the problem is, if Microsoft matches Google, who will switch away from Google? I won’t. The trust I’ve built since the late 1990s of searching Google many times a day without a problem is going to be a very hard thing to beat. To get me to switch Microsoft will have to be better than Google.

How about you? Does Microsoft (or Yahoo or Ask) have any hope of getting you to switch your default search engine?

127 thoughts on “Microsoft’s search a lot better than it used to be

  1. Well I think that it is good enough for me to use it and since it is already in I.E toolbar why not. I have been using it for over a month on a daily basis, I used to do all my searches with Google…Live is good! You should try it for at least few days before making a decision…

  2. Well I think that it is good enough for me to use it and since it is already in I.E toolbar why not. I have been using it for over a month on a daily basis, I used to do all my searches with Google…Live is good! You should try it for at least few days before making a decision…

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  4. Oh I had forgotten the word ‘Search’ and ‘Google’ has replaced it in my dictionary! It’ll be rather difficult to accept anything other than google, unless something truly magical is provided by any other search engine!

  5. Oh I had forgotten the word ‘Search’ and ‘Google’ has replaced it in my dictionary! It’ll be rather difficult to accept anything other than google, unless something truly magical is provided by any other search engine!

  6. I have been using Live search for a month now on both my work machine and laptop. I find the results just as good quality as Google’s. I’ve tried Google when I’ve been unhappy with Live’s result, only to find every time that Google didn’t find better results anyway.

    It took me a few days to even accept Live’s search results without checking the same query on Google!

  7. I have been using Live search for a month now on both my work machine and laptop. I find the results just as good quality as Google’s. I’ve tried Google when I’ve been unhappy with Live’s result, only to find every time that Google didn’t find better results anyway.

    It took me a few days to even accept Live’s search results without checking the same query on Google!

  8. After reading all the comments, my personal favorite was Bat’s: “MS was the first to have algebraic searches.”

    I can honestly say that in my years at Google, I don’t think anyone has asked me for that feature, and I’m a heavy user of the calculator feature. :)

  9. After reading all the comments, my personal favorite was Bat’s: “MS was the first to have algebraic searches.”

    I can honestly say that in my years at Google, I don’t think anyone has asked me for that feature, and I’m a heavy user of the calculator feature. :)

  10. Are you kidding me? Live.com is still wide open for spammers. It’s easy to manipulate.

    Look at the search result for [cheap fares]. It’s full of bogus affiliate blogspot blogs all owned by the same person (who’s probably raking in over $10k/day based on that one term alone). The technical term for this is “pwned”. :)

  11. Are you kidding me? Live.com is still wide open for spammers. It’s easy to manipulate.

    Look at the search result for [cheap fares]. It’s full of bogus affiliate blogspot blogs all owned by the same person (who’s probably raking in over $10k/day based on that one term alone). The technical term for this is “pwned”. :)

  12. Unless live.com can drive enough traffic (more than 85% of my traffic is from Google), I dont think it is relevant enough. If Google can, so can Live!

  13. Robert,

    You asked what can Microsoft do to hurt Google. I’m surprised, coming from MS that you don’t acknowledge the obvious: 95% of Google’s customers come to the via Windows. By making search integrated into the Vista OS, defaulting to live,com and bypassing the browser, MS — just by providing search results that are “good enough” for most customers — can put a big dent in Google’s revenue. Could be why Google is trying so desperately to diversify their product offerings beyond browser-based search.

    People make such a big deal about Google Office taking aim at Microsoft’s major source of income, while never acknowledging just how vulnerable Google’s single source of income is.

  14. Robert,

    You asked what can Microsoft do to hurt Google. I’m surprised, coming from MS that you don’t acknowledge the obvious: 95% of Google’s customers come to the via Windows. By making search integrated into the Vista OS, defaulting to live,com and bypassing the browser, MS — just by providing search results that are “good enough” for most customers — can put a big dent in Google’s revenue. Could be why Google is trying so desperately to diversify their product offerings beyond browser-based search.

    People make such a big deal about Google Office taking aim at Microsoft’s major source of income, while never acknowledging just how vulnerable Google’s single source of income is.

  15. Its been intersting to read all of the comments. Several have mentioned this and I am not adding anything new. But I do find that the quality of results from Live Search seems better than Google. I find that I am wading through less of irrelevant sites and am getting to find things more precisely. My searches are not so much on social spaces (maps, places etc) but are more on finance related areas. I have now switched over entirely to Live Search for the last 2 months and I am happy with it.

    Its wonderful to be an user and keep switching to whatever works, isnt it? Especially if you dont have a cost attached to it. :-)

  16. Its been intersting to read all of the comments. Several have mentioned this and I am not adding anything new. But I do find that the quality of results from Live Search seems better than Google. I find that I am wading through less of irrelevant sites and am getting to find things more precisely. My searches are not so much on social spaces (maps, places etc) but are more on finance related areas. I have now switched over entirely to Live Search for the last 2 months and I am happy with it.

    Its wonderful to be an user and keep switching to whatever works, isnt it? Especially if you dont have a cost attached to it. :-)

  17. I have already switched to Windows Live Video Search.
    It gives me all relevant video results from ALL video services, compared to Google’s Video search, which only searches Google Video(and soon I am sure YouTube).

    However what kind of Search Engine only shows results from one website(their own)? Well that is what Google Video Search does.

    Switched to Windows Live Video search.

  18. I have already switched to Windows Live Video Search.
    It gives me all relevant video results from ALL video services, compared to Google’s Video search, which only searches Google Video(and soon I am sure YouTube).

    However what kind of Search Engine only shows results from one website(their own)? Well that is what Google Video Search does.

    Switched to Windows Live Video search.

  19. i think live search is better than google. i would probaly only use google for like very tough searches, where you need a lot of results. but if i go to common everyday sites, then i probaly don’t need google to list millions of sites that i would probaly not care about. i’ve also heard that google spies on what you search and do on the internet. and i kind of don’t trust a company that would do that. i also like the suggested searches that they give along side your search, in case you want to be more specific. i know use live search all the time because i find it more convenient.

  20. i think live search is better than google. i would probaly only use google for like very tough searches, where you need a lot of results. but if i go to common everyday sites, then i probaly don’t need google to list millions of sites that i would probaly not care about. i’ve also heard that google spies on what you search and do on the internet. and i kind of don’t trust a company that would do that. i also like the suggested searches that they give along side your search, in case you want to be more specific. i know use live search all the time because i find it more convenient.

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