Written on: 23/07/2005 by silvermage (4 reviews written)
Blazingly fast speed
Glad to be the first to write a review on MSN, considered as the third (at times, 2nd) best, traditional, Web Search Engine.
Next big thing? Next big player? Or just more vaporware from Redmond?
After months of speculation, Microsoft has taken the wraps off of its new MSN search engine, the first major competitor to join the big leagues of web search lately.
Supported by an index of about 8 billion pages, the new engine is comparable to Google and Yahoo! in scope, and for most initial tests, in relevancy as well. The New engine, available at http://search.msn.com or http://msnsearch.com is an algorithmic search engine built from scratch by Microsoft engineers.
In conjunction with the launch of Microsoft's New Search Engine, MSN gets a pretty significant makeover. Significant, not just for the new look, nor because of the multi-million-dollar ad campaign which will attempt to oust Google out of the #1 search spot. But for the underpinnings of the home page represent a considerable move towards web standards.
The interface is clean and sparse, as are search result pages.
New and Exclusive
- Encarta: Instant Answers from Encarta Encyclopedia to general questions like 'who was Hitler?' '100 pounds' and such.
- Music: Access to MSN Music by providing artist information and sample song clips at the top of your search results.
- News & Image Search: Latest Scoop of News partly taken from MSNBC and an archive of Images on almost everything.
- Search Builder: Search Builder gives you more control over your search results. You can filter results by location, language and website, as well as fine-tune your query based on factors such as freshness and popularity.
- God Speed: Honestly speaking, the New MSN is a lot faster than Google. It's the fastest among all search engines currently. God Speed, seriously!
- Relevancy: Having started from scratch, MSN still has a relatively smaller index which affects the result relevancy. But there's a lot of improvement in the last couple of months.
MSN Desktop Search
Like the recently released Google Desktop which indexes the contents of your personal computer and email, if you're a Microsoft Outlook user, MSN Desktop indexes more types of content than the Google Desktop including photos, music, email attachments, programs and other types of content. Unlike the Google Desktop, the MSN Desktop does not index web pages that you've viewed.
Search results are displayed in a popup window as you type, progressively reducing the number of results as you type additional letters in your search terms - a neat feature.
Results are tagged as files or 'all other items' to help you quickly differentiate between things like word documents and spreadsheets you created and other content on your computer.
The program offers a number of useful shortcuts. In addition to providing quick access to files on your computer, you can also launch applications, documents, files and web sites through the Deskbar by creating and using custom shortcuts.
I've only been able to do quick, preliminary tests using MSN Desktop, but so far I'm impressed with both the quality of search results and the speed with which they're found. The indexing function is also polite, running in the background and stopping whenever computer resources are needed for another task.
One potential drawback if you're already using another browser toolbar is that the Desktop search function is embedded within the overall MSN Toolbar Suite. Like it or not, you must install the browser toolbar to get the desktop search capabilities. The toolbar has a lot of useful functions, such as a popup blocker, a form fill utility and other tools, but it also takes up a lot of space, even when configured to display only icons rather than text and icons.
Till late, Google (primarily) and Yahoo were the only players of the Search Market, but Microsoft is coming over strong at them with the New MSN Search, Watch Out!
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