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Thursday, November 11, 2004
Chatter Spreading On MSN Search
Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch has a major write up on MSN. Among the tidbits he notes that in addition to using Encarta to answer factual queries, MSN uses MSN Music for music-related queries. Presumably, all of Microsoft's services (and there are a lot) are being rolled into the search engine.

The engine's Search Builder means for the first time, inexperienced users can be expected to use advanced features, since they are just so much more accessible than in any other engine. The sliders represent the coolest new feature, allowing you to refine according to the exactness of matches, page popularity, and freshness, all at once, instantly. Currently, MSN Search uses Picsearch for image results, which Chris says is better than Google's (which has taken some knocks lately when it was disclosed that Google Images is updated only twice a year), but not as good as Yahoo's. You can get 10, 15, 30, 50, up to 100 results per page, plus you can activate safe search to avoid explicit results. You can also choose how results from the same site are grouped, the first time I've ever heard of an engine offering that sort of feature.

Chris confirms ME2, the Microsoft desktop search product, is coming soon, and he's very impressed with it. Chris's final word: MSN Search is not a Google killer, but it represents a great base to begin the fight against the search leader.
Far from being a Google killer, MSN Search is instead a welcome new alternative for searchers, and a catalyst for sparking further improvements and innovations at other services. It's going to be a fun couple of years.
Also, Greg Linden notes that, just like I joked a few hours ago, Microsoft did indeed change their press release at the last minute in response to Google's increase in its index from 4 to 8 billion. The original read:
The largest index of information. More than 5 billion web documents – larger than any web indexes reported today.
While the final version said:
Vast index of information. The MSN Search index of more than 5 billion Web documents is one of the largest indexes offered today.

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