MSN Search’s Revamp

Moogle? Goomsn? The news MSN Search service is out of the stables today, and despite what might be under the hood, Microsoft have obviously been inspired by Google’s clean, easy to use interface. Basically, they’ve taken most of the ads off.

After a year in development and US$100 million (€82 million), Microsoft’s MSN Search tool is still just a front end for Yahoo’s technology. For the time being.

To catch up with Google and Yahoo, Microsoft are gearing up to launch their very own, in-house developed, search tool this year. Webmasters will get a chance to vet its performance and accuracy before it goes live, baring in mind that MSN Search has had a odd and unfortunate habit in the past of dropping results from some sites competing with MS. Hope they manage to track that bug down and fix it.

In an interview on this week Yusuf Mehdi, head of MSN Search said, bafflingly “If this is a next-generation airplane, this is only the inside of the engine.” The first person to tell me what that means gets the usual prize – a bad CD from my collection. Come on people, I’ve still got a few left.

Microsoft’s MSN Search engine is currently third place in the US – Google deals with 35% of all internet searches, Yahoo takes a healthy 30% and MSN has 15%. They have a lot of catching up to do, but a strong band, new search engine and integration with MS’s operating systems (if they’re allowed to!) might just put them at the front of the field.

MSN Search

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?