Microsoft has finally laid to rest MSN Search to make way for their “Windows Live” branded search – which is finally out of beta.
For some time, the Windows Live brand has been appearing in a multitude of beta forms. With trademark Web 2.0 styling, Microsoft has been gradually testing all its key MSN services in the new Windows Live format.
Many of you may have got involved in trialing Microsoft’s Windows Live Betas including Messenger, Mail, Academic and QnA. The company’s strategic intent was quite transparent from the beginning, with MSN always doomed upon the successful release of Windows Live.
Well after much testing and bug fixing, Windows Live Search has replaced MSN Search. For those of you who use MSN Search, you’ll notice that a temporary redirect (301) will now take you to the Windows Live Search page.
Try it for yourself: http://search.msn.com
So the question is: Behind the new interface, is there a better search engine?
I took it for a spin and tested the two main search functions I use regularly (Web and News). Having been a committed Google user for some time (more habit than conscious decision), the results were surprisingly relevant and extensive.
On the “news” front, I think Microsoft needs to expand its sources, but the service is suitably fast and convenient to read. While I don’t use Image and Local search much, it was interesting to note that Jeremy Zawodny, after test driving the new Live Search, noted these two search types as obvious improvement areas for Microsoft.
For all the die hard MSN fans out there, Microsoft via the Windows Live blog promises that their favorite brand isn’t going anywhere. Apparently you’ll still be able to access all your MSN services from www.msn.com.
I am skeptical as to how long this will remain the case. Just try doing a search from the MSN homepage, and voila, Windows Live Search appears. Its only a matter of time before the Windows Live Brand umbrellas the entire customer journey.
Well if you haven’t given the Windows Live Search the once over, it’s time to test it for yourself. It appears many are converting over to the Windows Live way in place of the increasingly irrelevant results of Google and Yahoo! You be the judge if Windows Live is better!