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Windows Live Search Review

Windows Live

search is all the talk right now and how it’s going to take a bite out of Google’s dominance in the search engine market.

According to Richard MacManus at ZDNet the most impressive part of it is the user interface which has several “eye-opening” features. I’ve been playing around with it and I don’t share Richard’s enthusiasm:

  • An ‘infinite’ scrollbar that gets rid of the necessity for paging through results using “Next” buttons. It can deliver up to 1000 results and generates the page dynamically. Yes, all results are on one page! At Search Champs, Microsoft told us their stats indicate only 30% of users click to pg 2 on search results - which led to this innovation. Note: currently there are reports of this causing some performance issues, but I’m sure those are just teething problems.
  • Choose your thumbnail size on images - you can use a ’slider’ to adjust the size of image thumbnails, which is useful for focusing in on images. Or making them small so you can quickly scan them.
  • Also hovering over any image displays more information - such as dimensions, file size, file name and location. The theory behind that is that it removes a lot of metadata from the frontend. There’s also a “feedback on this image” link, but note that you probably won’t receive a personal response if you send feedback!
  • Click-through on an image result creates a frame for navigation in the left - also click “show image” to view full-size image as a pop-up. All done with AJAX.
  • You can read the rest of the article at ZDNet.

    One criticism that I have is its ‘infinite’ scrollbar window is not resizable. I find it annoying when I can only scan about two links at a time. The scroll bar just doesn’t move as quickly as my eye can scan an entire page when using for example Google’s interface.

    The result is it takes me longer to find what I’m looking for. I would much rather scan what I need on the first page or two rather than scroll a thousand results through a tiny window.

    Setting aside the bells and whistles of Windows Live interface, what I am more concerned with is will it’s algorithms match Google’s renowned intuitiveness? Not how slick it looks or its features.

    Will it find the information that I need, and do it quickly and conveniently? That is the bottom line what I look for in a search engine.

    Time will only tell the more that I play with it. Having said that it is still in beta and could be the future direction that search engines are going, and it will be another valued tool in my search arsenal.

    For me the real story will be watching Microsoft and Google rubbing elbows as the lines between the desktop and internet become even more blurred.

    Will Windows Live usurp Google’s stranglehold on the search engine market? I’m not holding my breath, any more than I would expect Google to knock out Microsoft’s desktop dominance. But everything else in between is fair game.

    Will there be room enough for the both? Let the games begin… digg story

    Written March 12th, 2006 by | 2 Comments | Filed under: Search Engine Tips

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    There are 2 Comments so far to “Windows Live Search Review”

    1. Excellent commentary Bloke and I totally agree.

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    2. “But everything else in between is fair game”. So let the games begin :)

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