Microsoft has started phasing in a slick new version of its Live Search service in a bid to gain ground on leading Internet search rivals Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft's improved Live Search will be available throughout the USA in a week’s time. By the end of October it will be available globally.
Live Search was demonstrated to invited guests in Mountain View, California by Microsoft’s vice president of search and advertising platform group. Microsoft is anxious to show users that a quantum jump has been made in search results. The corporation feels that now it can claim to be as good as Google.
Google is the world's most popular Internet search engine. Yahoo ranks second. Live, which replaced Microsoft's MSN search service in 2006, has long been in third place, affected by its branding and messaging.
Microsoft has quadrupled its index of web pages from which search results are mined, and refined the software that works out what people are seeking, despite vague or misspelled queries. The search platform is loosely based on the workings of the human brain, so it can assess relationships between search words rather than just the presence of words on web pages.
Relevant charts, maps, video and pictures are displayed on search result pages. Microsoft's three-dimensional mapping service is woven into web searches in which location is a key attribute.
Analysts consider that relevance of results is the yardstick by which search engines should be judged. Microsoft needs to give Internet users a reason to give Live Search another try.