Microsoft releases updated Live Search

Microsoft has announced today that the updated Live Search engine includes a 4 x increase in index size, significant enhancements in the core algorithms, increased focus on query refinement, and a new web data extraction model.

More details about these technical improvements are promised to appear in the LiveSearch Blog over the next couple of days.

I've tested the new Live Search today, and it indeed produces more accurate results than Google: e.g. searching for the term "XML Editor" on Google produces a whole bunch of irrelevant web pages and entries on the first page of the search results - including websites like Peter's XML Editor that aren't even supported/maintained anymore. Ironically, the #1 best-selling XML Editor and de-facto industry standard tool - Altova XMLSpy - is not even listed on that first page of results.

In contrast, the same search for the term "XML Editor" on Live Search will produce only highly relevant entries, including Altova XMLSpy as well as some competitors that are indeed maintaining their software and keeping it current.

It may have taken Microsoft a while to get Live Search right, but that's simply how they work:
  • The first version of Internet Explorer wasn't the killer, but subsequent versions kicked Netscape's butt.

  • The first version of Visual Studio wasn't damaging the Borland developer tools, but future releases forced them out of the market.

  • The first XBox wasn't hurting the PS2, but the XBox 360 is showing Sony who's boss, or rather who's Master Chief.

Extrapolate from those examples to the field of search, and I'd say now is a good time for Google to start to fear Microsoft...