HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

MSN Windows Live Search BETA

March 08, 2006

Just found out that MSN Windows Live is launching a new BETA of their search today. I checked it out and thought it was a pretty interesting twist on the "normal" search engine standards.

I think one of the coolest features is the fact that they got rid of pagination. Instead of clicking through page after page of results, they have implemented a slider on the right side of the results that allows you to scroll through all the search results on one page. You'll notice if you try it out that it does not load every single result onto the page and that it does, in fact, briefly pause while the next subset of results are loaded, but the delay is so short it is almost seemless. Does this mean everyone can land a first page result?

Also interesting on the Windows Live BETA Search is a "Feeds" tab that shows search results pertaining to RSS feeds. This feature is really nice as it actually searches through individual posts on RSS feeds. When you click on a result, it loads the feed directly into your browser window in a viewable format (no XML code) and lists out several other posts from the feed. Now it is possible to search the web for literally up-to-the-second news and postings on the topics that people are writing about RIGHT NOW (as opposed to finding a page that was posted three years ago on a search at Google). As a sidenote, I know the Live Search is in BETA but I did have some problems loading several of the RSS feeds I tried to click on...

Windows Live BETA Search also has a small horizontal slider that displays more or less of the results, although there are only 3 settings, and it basically shows either just the clickable link title, the link title with a short description, or the link title, description, and "Search within this site" link which opens a small dialog to type in a search term and, as the name implies, search within the selected site.

Also of interest in Windows Live BETA is the fact that the entire system seems to be built on an AJAX platform. Everything loads in real time without having to refresh the page. The PPC ads on the right side automatically rotate as you scroll down through the results. And, even though there is no slider to indicate where you are on the page, the numbers at the top of the search screen that indicate which results you are looking at automatically change in real time as well!

I applaud Microsoft/MSN for introducing Windows Live Search BETA. I've written about how I think Google is missing the boat by posing themselves as leaders in the online search and advertising market and failing to introduce cutting edge products before anyone else. I think Microsoft/MSN/Windows has taken a bold step by introducing something new, that does not conform the "Google Standard", using new technologies, and introducing a new GUI to get relevant results.

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