Live Search

At the end of September, Microsoft launched a major upgrade to Live Search that makes it faster and easier to use. Some of the areas that have been improved are:

  • Relevance: The size of the Live Search index has quadrupled, which means more correct results for searches. Enhanced ranking algorithms, auto-spell correction and better stop word handling help return the best results. 
  • Speed: Pages load much faster than before.
  • Streamlined look and feel: The end-to-end experience has been improved. For example, search results are now easier to read thanks to work on typography, contrast, colors and spacing.
  • More high-interest content:  Content related to Entertainment, Shopping, Health, Local and Video searches.

While Live Search still doesn’t have the same reach as Google in their search results, it has become a lot better and will continue to improve. Looking at my own blog’s statistics, Live Search is currently tied as the second highest search engine.

Some of you may remember that I had problems with comments and Google search that caused me to remove the Google search box from my site. As of imagetoday, I have added a new Live Search box for my site that allows you to search both my blog and the web at the same time. I think the actual search box looks a lot nicer than the one Google uses and really like the way I can customize the look of the search results and display them on my site as an overlay (layered) window.

I think the Live Search team has done a great job listening to feedback and adding content sources. I think the more Live Search is used and integrated with web sites and blogs, the more useful it will become. There are already a few enhancements I want to see made, such as:

  • The ability to search multiple sites and have each site’s results displayed in it’s own tab. (We can already search multiple sites, but they are all displayed under one tab.)
  • The ability to add more than one search macro. I’d love to be able to include macros that specifically search the Microsoft site, MSDN, and Wikipedia, all displayed in their own tabs. (Actually, if we had this capability, my first request wouldn’t be as important.)
  • A higher frequency of index updates.