back to article Microsoft: New Live Search 'as good as Google'

Microsoft yesterday used its Silicon Valley outpost, just down the road from Google, to unveil a "major update" to the web's third most popular search engine. And, yes, it's only been a year since the last major update. Bill and the gang plan on re-launching Live Search every 12 months. With this update, the company now …


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  1. Ian Ferguson

    You're just bitter

    All this negativity is a thin disguise for the fact you're just bitter about the fact that a search for 'register' returns The Register as the first result on Google, but second result on MSN...

    Comedy aside, a few test searches on fairly generic words (like 'register', in fact) on both engines seems to suggest Google results are still much more meaningful. I don't think Microsoft are quite there yet.

  2. Ian Ferguson


    Another observation - Google appears to place far more faith in Wikipedia than MSN - for many words, the wikipedia result is in the top three for Google, but not visible in the first page for MSN.

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing, or a good thing... just an observation.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only used microsofts search once

    I had just reinstalled windows and was being lazy so i put firefox into the default IE search page rather than type the URL. I was quite surprised that the popular web browser, IE's main competitor, wasn't the first result returned, it wasn't even on the first page and i couldn't be bothered to go further.

    After that i decided that google was probably the better option.

  4. Jon Pain

    Better than Google?

    When will people start learning that they can't make a more popular search engine than Google, its like Sainsbury's saying "We have more products than Tescos, and more of each on the shelf at a time." People still don't like them, and are still going to use Tescos for a good long while.

  5. JP

    Does the stats include typing errors?

    Considering that IE defaults a URL that's mis-typed/incomplete as a MS search query, do the stats actually include those sorts of searches?

    If so, the real numbers might be much lower than 37% of all search users...

  6. James

    Why live has so many users

    Dont forget all the IE7/Vista users who get this shoved down their throat when they first start using their computers. Its very common to type something into the search bar, then realise dam, i ment Google, but they have already registered you as somebody using their service.

    The amount of people actually using live in the long term is quite low I think

  7. Chad H.


    By expanding the Live Search index, Microsoft claims, the number of queries that return fewer than 10 results has been cut in half. Plus, the company says, its search results are "fresher", and it's better at finding user generated content. "Overall, the quality of the index is something that we paid a lot of attention to," Nadella said, "and we feel very, very good about the improvements."


    So its better than finding user generated content than google... Does that mean, in actual fact, what MS's search is missing is a ranking system that rates pages based on how many trusted sources refer to it?

    A Missing component as a feature? How Innovative.

  8. Karl Lattimer

    Firefox searches

    Interesting point made in that firefox comment, so I tested it out for myself.

    It looks like the first 3 sponsored links for firefox are malware, they aren't affiliated with mozilla and have suspicious URLs.

    After that, there's pretty much an entire page of firefox crapware downloads, and one link that can take you to a real firefox download. The register I believe reported on this one. :)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better than Google?

    When the Greeks count time by the Kalends..

  10. AndyB


    "But after this release, we feel that our slope of innovation is so good that we can claim that we're as good as Google."

    Good news for the chairs in Ballmer's office, then. ;-)

  11. Edward Rose


    Hate them. Nasty theiving little shts who offer an appalling service, no community support and when you complain about anything (like a lack of bike park) you are told you are a) lying, b) obviously blind because there is a sign for the bike park. Over a blank space, but the sign proves it exists doesn't it. Scum! Not the only complaint I've made either - always the same response.

    I'm not bitter.

    Anywho, as to the huge number of hits on live search:

    On the work machine, every time I make a typo in IE I'm sent to an MS search engine, not sure which one because I'm gone quicker than a crash.

  12. Sterling Udell

    Good point

    Right now, a MS Live search for "firefox" does turn up the FF download page - but not until the 4th result. The first result, perversely enough, is from MSDN.

    OTOH, a Google search for "internet explorer" returns the MS download page for IE as the first result.

    Kinda says it all, don't it, about whose interests each search engine puts first.

  13. James Pickett


    "we can claim that we're as good as Google"

    That must have been said through gritted teeth! Even if true, why would I want to change to something that was merely 'as good as'..?

    In any case, I imagine that part of Google's superiority relies on the scalability of Linux - when MS does the same, I might sit up and pay attention!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "On hearing new MS release, Sergei Brin ruptures spleen!"

  15. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Can you say "monopoly"

    OK, so it's improved - which, admittedly, shouldn't have been too difficult a task really considering just how poor it currently is. However the only reason that it's as "popular" as it currently is is that it's the default search engine for all new PCs and Installs of IE7 (along with *American* as the default damn language, rather that using the system language).

    Clearly MS aren't abusing a monopoly position here either then. Yes, they have an option to add alternative (and usually far better) search engines, however your average computer numpty won't know how to do this.

  16. M

    Hmm just how long will it...

    ...take to search for the items using Microshaft search engine after all that with the like of Windoze Vista's search takes ages to look for sommat!

    Nah! Shall stick to Ask...

  17. Patch Tuesday

    What the chuff.....

    is a 'slope of innovation' ???

  18. Dean Burrows

    would love to see it in action...

    if it is that good then maybe they could apply the 'good as google' search engine to their absolutely abominable Kowledge Base Article section of the website.... rather than trying to catch up to something so far in front of them they dont have a hope in hell, they may as well do SOME good to their own place first....

  19. John

    So they aren't any better?

    Google are more supportive of Linux and free open source software. I think I'll stick with Google.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Microsoft would say that...

    Lets face it - they aren't likely to say "Our new search is still as shit as the last one".

    Is there actually a problem with a search returning less than 10 hits? Or do Bill and Co think that 40 hits where 34 of them are total crap is better than 8 hits where 6 are crap?

  21. John

    Quantum jump

    "Overall, we feel we've made a quantum jump on our core relevance," Nadella said.

    It really irritates me when marketing people use the word "quantum", Nadella has probably never even seen the Schroedinger equation!!

    A true quantum jump would involve a quantum computer performing your search on everything in the database in parallel with the wavefunction collapsing on the correct answer(s). I somehow doubt M$ has done this.

  22. Tim Wesson

    At Last, "Quantum Jump" Being Used Correctly!

    "Overall, we feel we've made a quantum jump on our core relevance," Nadella said.

    A quantum jump or leap is of course the smallest possible change in energy - to the next quantum level!

  23. Tom Callway

    Marketing Toss

    Searched for "The Office" using Mafiasoft LiveSearch and the first natural hit was "Office Shoes".

    Did the same with Google and guess what? I got The Office TV programme.

    This is marketing toss that shouldn't be given the time of day by El Reg.

  24. Kenneth Bradley-White

    RE: Wikipedia


    Another observation - Google appears to place far more faith in Wikipedia than MSN - for many words, the wikipedia result is in the top three for Google, but not visible in the first page for MSN.


    Two words: MSN Encarta

  25. Ralph B

    The Link to MS Search?

    It's OK, I found it via Google.

  26. Dave

    Search for 'open suse'

    Even better - google brings back as top hit, as you'd expect. Live serach claims:

    We did not find any results for open suse.

    Search tips:

    * Ensure words are spelled correctly.

    * Try rephrasing keywords or using synonyms.

    * Try less specific keywords.

    * Make your queries as concise as possible.

  27. communist

    No marketing by El Reg

    This isnt marketing by El Reg as they clearly stated they have access to the new stuff while the general public will have access to it on Monday.

    As it is now searching for firefox results in first hits pointing to a Silverlight FAQ?!?!

    A few months ago I searched for "Linux" on a daily base and each and everytime they would snuck in some windows stuff.. at least they dropped that crap.

  28. Joe K

    Google isn't a good yardstick anymore

    Type most stuff into Google and the vast majority of guff you get back are sites either trying to sell you something, or link referral/"review" sites.

    I would hope that someone somewhere is trying to get us a search engine again without all the capatalist junk.

    And yes, i know about

  29. Andy Enderby

    More relevant results ?

    I'd settle for results that had >>any<< relevance if I were them. Live search is so bad it's comical.

  30. alistair millington

    interestingly enough.

    My company use IE7 (I am not told why) but mistyping a word into the URl brings up a google page saying "..did you mean to type...."

    This is on a standard install, not sure where we are dragging that information from because no one ever went in and set it.

    Live search, Pah!. I would rather they fix vista before trying to flog us another "as good as service."

  31. Pieter Hintjens

    Live search is censored?

    Look for 'OOXML' in Google, and in Live search. Amazingly, very few of the highly critical websites that show up on Google appear on Microsoft's search.

    Microsoft chucks search engine at Google: misses, throws like a girl...

  32. Dave

    Search for 'suse'

    On Google, it's what you'd expect. On the live search thing, first hit is the Scottish Union for Supported Employment. They must actively do this...

  33. adnim


    can do without the encouragement or the revenue from the advertising they foist on those unfortunate enough to find themselves at any m$ site.

    Regardless of the quality of their search results they should never be used. What chance is there of the IT world freeing itself from m$ clutches, if users continue to use m$ services?

    m$ will never crash and burn if we keep on encouraging and using them.

  34. Adam

    Looking Good To Me...

    I get when i search for open suse, so it's probably not rolled out completely yet.

    The results i am getting are very similar to what google shows, and as far as i have seen since testing it, it IS better then Yahoo!

    Just a shame more people don't use it.

  35. Dam

    Yeah whatever...

    I don't hate google quite as much as I hate microsoft for now, so I'll stick with the former.

  36. Ben

    Browser Tests

    As a quick test I searched for "firefox", "opera", "safari" and "internet explorer" in Windows Live Search, Google, Yahoo and Ask. Ignoring the sponsored results, Google and Yahoo brought up the browsers as the first result for all four and Ask had all but Opera as the first result, understandably putting it second behind the Royal Opera House. Live Search didn't put any as the first non-sponsored result, with "firefox" returning several suspicious non-Mozilla downloads. The "internet explorer" search in Live brought up the Firefox-directing site.

    It doesn't seem like Live is deliberately promoting IE over other browsers, it just isn't very good.

  37. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Most popular search engine?


    When will people start learning that they can't make a more popular search engine than Google, its like Sainsbury's saying "We have more products than Tescos, and more of each on the shelf at a time." People still don't like them, and are still going to use Tescos for a good long while.


    I believe that's what they said about Yahoo. I believe it's also what they said about Altavista. Altavista beat Yahoo (and at one point was the most visited site on the web). Google beat Altavista.

    It's not so much a case of no one can replace google, more that no one can yet.

  38. Robert Feldman

    IE Defaults to Live Search

    The only times I have used Live Search is when I type the URL wrong in IE, and it defaulted to Live Search to say it couldn't find the URL. I wonder how much other people's similar experiences have skewed the number of people who are said to have used the service.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy Birthday to Google

    9 years old today.

    Not that Microsoft's announcement was any attempt to piss on Google's parade, oh no, not at all, never crossed their mind.

  40. John Boyarsky

    Nope... Not as good

    Nope. Sorry Micro$quish (to paraphrase Bloom County)... Not quite as good as Google.

    Just this morning I tried a search & mispelled the word. Google had the right spelling right there at the top AND a dozen of more links to the incorrectly spelled word.

    Same thing IN LiveSearch and NO RESULTS. Period.

    That word was "applematterz"

    Try it yourself...

    Just my 2.5¢

  41. Morely Dotes

    Search Engine of Satan

    "Microsoft has announced a bevy of new vertical engines that work in tandem with core search. These include a local search platform with more info about individual businesses, a shopping platform with more info about products, a health platform with more info about bodily functions, and an entertainment platform that tracks the worldwide popularity of Salma Hayek."

    I notice that Microsoft *didn't* mention how much of your personal information they collect when you use Internet Explorer, or Desktop Live Search, or their new Internet Live Search.

    I have about as much trust in Microsoft as I have in George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and for about the same reasons.

    I'll stick to Firefox and Seamonkey, Linux, and Google, thanks.

  42. Matt Sharpe

    New Live Search not up yet

    It seems nobody commenting here realises that the new search engine is not up yet. So most of your comments are irrelevant. Try again next week :-)

  43. Richard Kay

    I don't want MSN search users finding my site

    It's not as if I'm short of ways to use my bandwidth and time.

    User-agent: msnbot

    Disallow: /

    I did this after the msnbot buggy beta version searched the same pages on my site a few thousand times in a continuous loop. Good riddance.

  44. MaxRock

    Re: Firefox searches By Karl Lattimer

    My first 2 results are msdn entries for Silverlight (which I think is microsoft's flash replacement wanna-be)

    Then Wikipedia's entry for firefox, then 2 development information pages for firefox and finally the download page.

  45. Aubry Thonon

    @What the chuff.....

    @Patch: " a 'slope of innovation' ???"

    A very slippery one, obviously.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes - their crappy bot did the same to me.. came onto the site, picked a single page and then sat there for the next 15 minutes or so fetching the same page over and over again.

  47. Flynn

    37% of users

    I wonder how many of those 37% of users they claim comes from every time there's a story comparing google and live search on digg, /. (or even the reg) and a whole bunch of people go and run some queries on both sites?

  48. adnim

    @Morely Dotes

    I whole heartedly agree, Although my trust of Google is certainly waning.

    @ any one that cares

    Support the little guy, make him rich, rich enough to enjoy life but not so rich as he can exert any kind of control over the consumer, market or government. Then, make use of another up and coming provider until they too start getting, "too big for their boots" to coin a phrase. Let us as consumers create a more level playing field by using the choice we have, whilst we still have it.

    OK, the product in some cases maybe slightly inferior, but at least one is treated with some respect, as an asset to the provider and not a locked in source of ridiculous amounts of cash and/or saleable and often personal information.

    I would rather make a poor man rich than a rich man richer.

  49. Bad Beaver

    What.. that "Live Search" thingy you all talk about?

  50. Ian

    Of course they have 40% reach - they cheat!

    Mistype a URL in IE with default settings - what do you get to? Live search!

    It's the same trick MSN has used for years - as an advertiser you get access to a vast but sh*te audience who don't want to be there but don't know how to stop it.

    I've actually seen the data that proves this but the risk of getting the Reg sued prevents me from naming the source. ;-)

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