MSN Local Search Launches for Beta Testing
After giving beta users a sneak peak of its Local Search function with the Near Me button in MSN Web Search Beta, Microsoft has now launched its MSN Local Search live on the MSN site yet still in Beta). MSN uses a basic local search result selection of local businesses populated by biz data centers and also has integrated mapping via Microsoft MapPoint and digital aerial images supplied by US only TerraServer-USA (which are quite primitive when compared to the Google Keyhole Sat Images). Adding to the group of major search engines offering a local search function, which include Google, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, and even Amazon, MSN Local Web Search is a respectable first try in Beta.
Additionally, the Microsoft Virtual Earth team will join MSN Search, bringing over 10 years of mapping and geo-location experience. MSN states the move “allows MSN to provide an immersive experience that enables consumers to search, navigate, explore and discover local information through the next wave of local search technology.”
“We are deeply investing in developing world-leading local search services that precisely deliver the local information consumers care about,” said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president for MSN Search at Microsoft Corp. “We remain committed to continuously improving our search service, and today’s MSN Local Search beta release is just the beginning. With the addition of MSN Virtual Earth, we are poised to take local search to the next level.”
Unlike Google, Yahoo and other local search offerings, with MSN Local Search results are determined by your MSN Web Search profile location, and not by entering a zip code or town name into the search query. Give MSN Local Search a try and be sure to contact their web team with any requests, bugs, or ideas – one of the beauties of having such an offering in Beta.