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‘Local’ Search on Microsoft Live.com

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‘Local’ Search on Microsoft Live.com

‘Local’ Search on Microsoft Live.com

Search the word “Local” on MSFT’s Live.com and what do you get?

1. Local.google.com
2. Local.yahoo.com

. . . In that order. Live.local.com is the seventh result. (It’s the second paid result.) Depending on how one looks at this, one could either praise or criticize Microsoft.

And there’s something even more interesting going on. Undoubtedly this has already been written about but I just noticed it: Live.com has developed a new twist on “metasearch.” The “search within this site” feature allows users to search Google or Yahoo or any other site and stay within the Live.com environment. Here, for example, is a search for “best chinese food in new york” on Yahoo! Local — within Live.com!

Once you click the search result you go to the content page. Otherwise, all results are within the Live.com “frame.” Microsoft could take this a step further with “site preview” functionality such as Ask’s Binoculars Site Preview or Browster. That way entire pages (and all their content) could be previewed without leaving Live.com. (There are hypothetical legal issues here that have yet to be addressed.)

At this stage of the game, this “search within results” feature is a power-user tool to be sure. And Google is testing something similar: “expandable search results.” But it’s interesting to see Microsft experimenting with some new interface and user experience approaches to search. The search results of tomorrow, especially in Local, will look very different than today.

Related: LiveDrive, offering users nearly unlimited storage, is on the way from Miscrosoft. And it may arrive before Google’s rumored GDrive. Privacy concerns notwithstanding (which are considerable), these initiatives are pretty interesting. Can Y!Drive be far behind?

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.

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