After reading that Live Search is Live I decided to go kick the tires a bit. This is by no means a thorough test--it's more of a drive by. :-)

I performed a few common and not so common queries on each of the search vertical which have tabs: web, images, news, local, and QnA. My impressions so far are:

  • Web: Wow. It's fast and relevant. In my queries it compares very, very well with Google and Yahoo. The design feels, for lack a better term, "friendly." Spam isn't hard to find, but it also doesn't bubble it's way up in places I might have expected. Microsoft has come a loooong way on this.
  • Images: The results are spotty and the index feels small. There's lots of room for improvement here.
  • News: It's fast but less comprehensive than the competition.
  • Local: Slow to load but the maps are easy to read. The rendering reminds me a lot of Streets & Trips, which I've always liked.
  • QnA: The user interface if far less green (and busy) than Yahoo! Answers, but it's also pulling form a smaller pool of answers. The quality and relevance seem decent in my limited poking around, however.

Have you tried it yet? What did you think?

Posted by jzawodn at September 11, 2006 09:40 PM

Reader Comments
# Joe Truffle said:

A9 switched over from Google to Live, and I have been using it for the past 6 months or so. The search results have always felt more relevant than Google.

on September 11, 2006 11:27 PM
# Van Damme said:

I don't know. I tried keying in something I Googled this morning. I was impressed that Google could dig up the dirt on the topic. Live could only find half of the dirt.

on September 12, 2006 12:26 AM
# Van Damme said:

Hang on, make that one-seventh, not half. I just remembered about some other *accurate* entries that showed up on Google. I'm on page 6 of Live and I don't even find any of the stuff I was looking for.

Also, Live isn't that fast. It's slower (a bit) than Google. Is it because I'm using Firefox on a non-MS platform?

on September 12, 2006 12:32 AM
# Kirby Witmer said:

I've tried it. And I love the cleaner It's very simple but attractive.

on September 12, 2006 05:45 AM
# Aaman said:

I don't know if this is the norm, and I never noticed it on before, but I went to the site, clicked on News, and typed my query, I got a sign-in screen, I had to sign in with my hotmail account before the results were displayed. Will retest, but that's not a good thing, methinks

Slick interface, and good result quality, definitely

on September 12, 2006 05:52 AM
# Rasmus said:

I use search engines a lot to track down error messages. This is something Google has always been best at, but I have found that lately it has gotten much worse. For example, yesterday I was looking for this quoted term:

"missing } in XML expression"

Nothing from Google. Not even a single hit. That's just plain weird as it is a very common error when trying to parse a backend request. That same term on turns up 10+ hits.

And 1 hit in Italian, so better than Google, but nowhere near Yahoo's results.

Of course, this is just one search term, and doesn't mean that much, but I think it says something about the relative sizes of the indices, or in the case of Google, perhaps a bug somewhere related to a quoted expression containing a }

on September 12, 2006 06:40 AM
# mariano said:

I like it... cleaner interface than MSN, a really cool set of tools in the image search (i find nice the "desktop size" filter) and the results... well... all are close in relevancy nowadays ;)

on September 12, 2006 07:21 AM
# Hashim said:

I tried some ego searches for my name and blog, and both didn't have the proper results at top. That pretty much ends my test.

I would love for someone to come up with a standard search engine test, so we can compare these sort of things.

on September 12, 2006 08:06 AM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

Based on limited tests I've also noted "good" results but still not up to Yahoo or Google standards of relevance.

I really like the advanced search feature that allows you to adjust results for freshness, query independent rank (aka PageRank), and relevance.

If somebody takes that feature, combines it with tagging info, and makes it all very user friendly I think you'd wind up with spectacular results.

on September 12, 2006 08:11 AM
# TDavid said:

Definitely a cleaner interface. Wish they would have made the neverending scrollbar an option. Mixed results on search, but a definite improvement over prior Microsoft efforts. They're getting better.

on September 12, 2006 09:06 AM
# Adam Lasnik said:

>[...] "missing } in XML expression"
> Nothing from Google. Not even a single hit. [...]

Hey Rasmus,

While this is admittedly less common of an search than you might think (we find that characters like that curly bracket are more typically introduced as typos), I can understand how you and others might indeed want to search for error messages like that. I've forwarded on this example to some of our engineers here at Google to investigate further.

on September 12, 2006 01:39 PM
# tommy said:

big improvement for the microsoft camp. it's still not google but it's close enough to begin closing the gap. like an earlier post said, relevancy is less of an issue now since all three have reached an acceptable level. it'll be interesting to see what this new iteration does for microsoft's query share a year or so from now. give it a shot if you have not already.

on September 12, 2006 03:36 PM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

Adam - How about parentheses in search - does google treat them differently as well?

on September 12, 2006 08:55 PM
# Kris said:

Google has their search and it is slowly getting beat.

on September 12, 2006 10:23 PM
# Rasmus said:

Adam, a typo in a quoted search string? I can understand dropping it in a non-quoted, but to me a quoted term like that means that I really want exactly what is between the quotes. I tried escaping it with a \ as well and various other tricks, but it looks like there is no way to tell Google that yes, I really did mean to search for that character.

on September 13, 2006 03:27 AM
# Frank Ross said:

Nice look, now doesn't that remind you of Google? The sparse screen with one dominant box and some minor text links underneath? And the rest blank? I guess if you can't beat the competition, copy them? Oops I mean 'learn from them'.

on September 13, 2006 01:32 PM
# Adam Lasnik said:

Joseph, parenthese are also basically ignored, as far as I know.

Rasmus, good points... and as I noted, we're doing some thinking about this topic.

on September 13, 2006 01:48 PM
# Ryan said:

Only one problem... Leave the search form blank and submit it.

The page changes, but there's nothing there... now users are confused and don't know what to do or where to go from there.

on September 14, 2006 01:27 PM
# Chanio said:

I still can't find a search engine that would sort all by date-time. A very important feature for any search engine.

I guess that to achieve this goal there should be a good way of determining the real date of the found data. And, perhaps, leaving non dated data at a lower possition of the results list... Don't know.

on September 20, 2006 04:59 AM
# bloger said:

I always find something new and interesting every time I come around here - thanks.

on November 10, 2006 03:05 AM
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