MSN Search Improvements

By now you have probably heard about the new MSN search look. Launched July 1 of this year, MSN appears to have reworked their ranking algorithms somewhat so that results are displayed in a different manner.

Also, they have changed the appearance of the site, more closely matching Google and Yahoo! with their colored ad boxes and similar fonts.

One would hope that this is merely the beginning of what is supposed to be an impressive search engine.

And we may be right. If you go to http://techpreview.search.msn.com/ you can get an idea of what the totally new, MSN powered search could look like. Only algorithmic results are displayed here, no paid.

After performing a few searches you will see that not all the results are accurate. In many cases, keyword stuffed pages are ranking higher than legitimate sites. For example, do a search for “search engine” (without the quotes) and you see that the top 2 sites aren’t one of the major search engines.

Maybe it’s just because this is a preview of a new search engine, but a few searches conducted show no more than 164 results. In fact most show much less. Even a search for Microsoft returns less than 150 results.

On the other hand, this could be a move by Microsoft to offer more control over search results. After all, how many people really surf past the top 50? Even at that, the percentage of search users who view between the top 30 and 50 results is miniscule. So why show thousands of results that only automated software will see?

Or perhaps it is just because this is a preview of what could be. When the full version comes out later this year, there will be more results to show.

In any case, it does show Microsoft’s commitment to search. I just hope that it delivers all that the company has been saying it will, otherwise it will fall flat. Similar to that big blockbuster summer movie which is all hype and no substance, where you see the best parts of the movie in the commercials advertising it. It’s only after you stand in line for hours and spend a bunch of money at the theater that you realize it was a waste of time and money. If Microsoft isn’t careful, its new search engine could be the summer blockbuster flop of 2004.

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