New MSN search engine: How good is it?
News in the sphere of search engines
If you have an online business or you just use Internet as one
of your marketing tools, you know that how important are the
search engines in your quest to get more targeted visitors to
your website. The changes in search engine field can have
unexpected outcome for your online endeavors. That's why it
is important to be well-informed on impending progress in
Microsoft has recently come out with the latest beta version
of its much touted search engine. Supported by 5 billion
indexed pages, it is poised to become one of the most powerful
search engines in the market. Right now MSN is using Yahoo
provided search results for queries done through its search
page, which it's planning to change somewhere in early next
year with its own. You can check out the search engine at
Google's immense success and profitable business model
enticed Microsoft and others to look into lucrative search
engine market seriously. Amazon, for example, has recently
launched its web search site A9.com. Today, Google carries
out almost 50 percent of all searches on the Internet.
Yahoo with 24 percent of the market share is trailing in
a distant second place. MSN with 14 percent lags far behind
from the competitors – a situation, which won't be very easy
However, Microsoft has a long history of copying booming
products; make their replicas some times, arguably, better
then the originals, and clinch larger portion of the market
shares. Microsoft has successfully done this to Borland's
dominance of programming languages in the early days. The
list of victims continued with once utterly popular word
processor –WordPerfect, market dominant spreadsheet – Lotus
1-2-3, Novell's Netware and finally Netscape.
Since 90 percents of all personal computers run on Windows,
Microsoft gets an extra edge against its competitors,
which it's capable of exploiting very effectively.
What is new in MSN Search?
This version of MSN search incorporated several interesting
features, which other search engines are lacking at this
Direct answers to plain language factual searches
Unlike Google or Yahoo, Askjeeves has better ability
to find answers to direct plain language searches. MSN
search has taken this one step further by adding
Microsoft's Encarta reference tools to its features.
Ask, what is the capital of Russia? You will get the right
answer at the beginning of the result page. Questions like
“What is the size of a Blue whale?” also brings in exact
answer. No doubt, students will love this feature as it
makes a lot easier for them to get specific answers to
the questions related to facts and figures.
Microsoft's new search engine includes a 'near me'
button that helps users find websites for a given
location. In this release, this works only in United
Once you press this button MSN search figures out where
are you located using your computer's IP address. However,
this can be easily superseded by changing setting
preferences. This is important if you are located in New
York and looking for something near Boston.
In other search engines, if you would like to customize
your search you have to use advance search options from
a separate page. MSN search has made it a lot easier for
average users by adding the ability of customization
right on the search box.
Once you click on the Search Builder from the link right
underneath of the search box a drop down menu will open.
Initially, the menu might look a little confusing; with
little patience you will be able to use available great
The tool “search terms” allows you to add Boolean search
options. Site/ Domain tool is used for limiting a search
to specific site or domain, or excluding them from your
query. “Links to” tool helps you make your query within
the sites linked to a specific site. Country/ region and
language options are required to make geography or
language specific searches.
The best option from this group of features is the
“Result Ranking”. This option allows you to refine
searches and give you a better control over the search
result by using a set of three bars. By sliding the
bars up and down you choose whether you want to see
more of exact match or approximate match, more popular
or less popular, static or dynamic pages as search
results. You can generate an impressive range of
results for a single query thanks to this option.
This could be very useful for some types of searches.
For example: if you are looking for news based pages,
you might prefer to choose more dynamic pages rather
than static ones.
Most notable options on the setting page are “Safe
Search” – ability to filter out sexually explicit
images and texts, and ability to fix the number of
results displayed from one particular site.
Many reviewers claim that if you compare the search
results with Google, MSN search engine “falls short”
in relevancy. However, my results showed otherwise.
I ran a search on the phrase “trade leads”. The results
from both the search engines were very relevant. The
only difference in MSN I noticed is our
http://trade-leads.rusbiz.com managed to turn up on
the first page. But, a search on the word “e-catalog”
was brought better – more relevant – results on MSN
then Google. This time too I was happy to see
http://e-catalog.rusbiz.com on the first page of MSN
If you consider all the new features of MSN that Google
does not have yet, its ability to cover natural language
queries, quality level and relevance of results, ability
to refine searches, there is no doubt that MSN search
engine is as good as Google.