Windows Live Search Replacing MSN Search
By Thursday, MSN Search will be no more. Windows Live Search will replace it around the globe.
Microsoft is also taking the “beta” label off Live, Live Search and Live Local tonight. Chris Sherman’s column in SearchDay tomorrow is about Live Search. I’ll be writing a couple of posts about Live Local, here and on the Search Engine Watch blog.
Not to steal Chris’ thunder (Microsoft lifted the embargo early), Live Search offers a nice, clean interface and presentation as well as some nice innovations in image search (i.e., scrolling, scratchpad, slider bar). But I think Miscrosoft has also done a nice job in enabling users to move smoothly through a range of “vertical” tabs (Web, images, news, QnA, local, products, video, etc.). See, for example, how quickly and nicely you can move through a range of information about the US Open by clicking the tabs/buttons on the horizontal nav.
It’s not perfect (Local opens a new app, rather than giving local results relevant to the query). But it’s a very good user experience.
And now to the question everyone asks: “Can it gain market share for Microsoft from Google and Yahoo!?” My answer is, in the short term, probably not. In the medium to long term: maybe. Microsoft is unfortunately tasked with developing an obviouslybetter engine and a better overall user experience in order to get people to change what is now habitual behavior.
This is not to say Live Search isn’t very good. Rather the task at hand is extremely difficult given Google’s (and to a lesser degree Yahoo!’s) entrenchment in the search marketplace.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.