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MSN Search Has Arrived 535

strikehosting writes "The new MSN Search, "the first-ever search engine built from the ground up by Microsoft", has been launched worldwide. It will be available in 25 markets and 10 languages. A few features though, like MSN Music and 'Search Near Me', are available only in the United States. Sporting a cleaner look and a simplified layout, MSN Search has a more prominent position on the home page. The features that are available here include tabs that allow consumers to target searches to the Web, news, images, music, desktop or Microsoft Encarta."
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MSN Search Has Arrived

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  • [tt]:Encarta (Score:4, Informative)

    by daniil ( 775990 ) * <> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:30AM (#11539158) Journal
    From the Seattle Times article [] on this:

    Microsoft still hopes that people will buy the Encarta software for additional tools not included in the search engine, such as a guide that helps children finish their homework. The Encarta features will make a huge difference in setting MSN Search apart from rivals, said Charlene Li, an analyst tracking the search industry for Forrester. "Here is this objective, fact-based information that you need," she said. "It's really hard to find that objective point of view" online.

    For one, the use of the online Encarta isn't completely free. If you make an Encarta search, you'll notice a clock ticking in the left side of the screen: you only have two hours of "free" Encarta (remember, kids, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, especially coming from Microsoft). It seems that it won't stay free for long.

    So, here's the dilemma: should one use non-free but objective Encarta or free but biased Wikipedia?

    • by worst_name_ever ( 633374 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:46AM (#11539312)
      Microsoft still hopes that people will buy the Encarta software for additional tools not included in the search engine, such as a guide that helps children finish their homework.

      Man, I sure wish I'd had Microsoft Shut Up And Study, Cut Your Hair, Get A Job 2005 when I was a kid!

    • Now, why exactly Encarta is less biased than Wikipedia?
      • While it's near-impossible for an encyclopedia to be completely objective, i really do believe that the people editing Encarta are still far more objective than many of those "editing" Wikipedia -- ie less likely to use it to express their own political views, etc. For more information on Wikipedia bias, see here [], here [], or here []. The list goes on, but i'm not going to list any more links -- that's what Google (or MSN search, for that matter) is for.
      • Re:[tt]:Encarta (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Now, why exactly Encarta is less biased than Wikipedia?

        Encarta is written by professionals striving to produce unbiased facts. Wikipedia is written by a small core of the same, plus a number of people who more or less know what they're doing and have a vague idea what "unbiased" means, plus a larger number of people who don't know as much as they think they do, plus a small but active swarm of trolls who deliberately introduce misinformation and bias at every opportunity.

        The logical conclusion is that W
    • by iamthemoog ( 410374 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:53AM (#11539365) Homepage
      ...such as a guide that helps children finish their homework.

      You mean Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V ?

      • Re:[tt]:Encarta (Score:2, Informative)

        by BigDogCH ( 760290 )
        Thats funny, but oh so true! Take a random line from any paper turned in by a highschool student, plop it into google, and it will come up 50%+ of the time. I showed my students this, and still hit the 50% mark. They won't even change a few words so it doesn't send off flags. They would rather take a 0.
    • Brittanica, down at the library! It's free, relatively unbiased, and Yes, people still go to the library.

      On second thought, it'll never catch on. Too much research involved in research.

    • Re:[tt]:Encarta (Score:2, Informative)

      by gorre ( 519164 )

      For one, the use of the online Encarta isn't completely free. If you make an Encarta search, you'll notice a clock ticking in the left side of the screen: you only have two hours of "free" Encarta

      It is not free in any sense of the word, the second article I looked at gave me: "The article is exclusively available for MSN Encarta Premium Subscribers." --- "MSN Encarta Premium: Get this article, plus 35,000 other articles, an interactive atlas, dictionaries, thesaurus, study centre, and more for £1

    • So, here's the dilemma: should one use non-free but objective Encarta or free but biased Wikipedia?

      What makes you think that Encarta is not biased?

      Back in 2002, we had a certain amount of discussions about Encarta's texts about some middle-eastern country and its population. Have you ever tried to fix an error in the Encarta? 2/ 12/microsoft.htm
      • Re:[tt]:Encarta (Score:2, Insightful)

        by generic-man ( 33649 )
        Everyone is biased.

        Encarta is edited by professional editors, and as such it has a standard of integrity which Microsoft's customers expect.

        Wikipedia is edited by bored Internet users, and as such it bears a disclaimer that it is "for entertainment purposes only."

        I would much sooner trust Encarta than Wikipedia for encyclopedic knowledge, in much the same way that I'd trust any other journalistic source [] than a bunch of bored Internet users [] to edit my news.
    • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @11:33AM (#11540361) Homepage
      or free but biased Wikipedia?

      Please note that Wikipedia's number one rule is called NPOV [] for "neutral point of view", before you go accusing it of widespread bias left and right. Not that it always lives up to the goal of being entirely bias-free, but I'd hardly call Encarta unbiased either, and it makes no claim that objectivity is an object.

      And it's not like the two are mutually exclusive, either. If you have Encarta, you can still look up stuff on Wikipedia, compare and contrast their approaches, and learn more from the profit.

      But Encarta probably is more suitable for children, because Wikipedia makes little effort to self-censor offensive material that you may not want your child to know about.

  • by Aurix ( 610383 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:31AM (#11539164)
    For the few searches I've used MSN for, it seems to have better results than Google.

    Anyone else noticing this?
    • by lovebyte ( 81275 ) * <> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:42AM (#11539268) Homepage
      Searching for my first name (very common) and family name (rare), google gives me pages associated with me or some homonym. MSN search gives me pages associated with both names but not on the same line, i.e. not related to me.
      Google Image search also gives much more hits than the MSN equivalent.
      MSN does not have a spelling checker.

      So for these, MSN search is not as good as google.
      • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:53AM (#11539372) Homepage Journal
        Search in both "fonew"

        MSN: * Were you looking for fone
        Google: Did you mean: phone

        so, it does have corrective facilities, but google works better.

        Now, the ultimate, searching for "par hiltn"
        MSN: * Were you looking for par hilton
        Google: Did you mean: paris hilton

        Mind you, google does have a special affinity with the woman, so we will let them off.

    • Well, except for the sponsored links, when you do a MSN search on Linux [], it no longer comes back with the FUD MS page talking about total cost-of-ownership of Linux vs MS as one of the first links.
    • I agree, MSN Search's results are better. My site ranks higher in MSN Search than it does in Google for the searches I tried.
    • by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:58AM (#11539411) Homepage Journal
      From what I've tested so far. It seems that it's getting more hits than google in some places, better links in others. Linux and Windows give much more hits in MSN than in Google. Linux searches in MSN tend to focus on the bigger portals rather than the Distros like google. Windows searches are somewhat strange, Google Likes Winzip while MSN likes Winamp on it's first page.

      Searching for Firefox, Google wins 17mil to 1.2mil, but the news portion gives much more recent news than google. They both seem to focus on the same pages on the first page however.

      Interface wise, you can definetly tell who their trying to emulate. It has a "It's Google with more blue color" Feeling to it. It's cached page content does not do autohighlighting like google, which is a big minus in my opinion. Adjustment wise, I think they got something with the Search Builder, especially with the Result rankings slider.

      Overall, it seems like it use use some work search wise, but that could be just because it needs to do some more spidering. Even Google sucked Vs Altavista until it's spidering caught up. Only time will tell.
    • Yes, absolutely. But then I used to have better results with Google when Google was young. Wait and you'll see MSNS spammed, sued, etc. That's what I expect anyway.
    • Hmpf. But not as useful. Try entering "12 inches in centimetres" on MSN... I get really useful stuff on Seabirds and Plant Care.
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pnewhook ( 788591 )

    Can't see what this would possibly give over Google or other great search engines. What possible benefit could Microsoft give to this that is not already there? Why bother reinventing the wheel, except for the purpose of desktop domination?

    First post?

    • Encarta searching.

      Actual facts with minimal bias compared to wikipedia.
    • Can't see what this would possibly give over Google or other great search engines. What possible benefit could Microsoft give to this that is not already there? Why bother reinventing the wheel, except for the purpose of desktop domination?

      You can't win if you don't play.
      A better question would be: Why is Microsoft working on a "desktop search tool"? Yahoo, I can can see, but Microsoft? They produce the damn OS, which has a search built into it!!! Maybe they are going to have an animated cat this tim

    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vacindak ( 669486 )

      One BIG difference I've noticed is that MSN search doesn't ignore sites with query strings in the URL. My entire site uses them, so it's pretty obvious in the logs, the MSN bot is the only thing spidering past the front page. If I want Google to index my site, I'd have to set up URL rewriting, which my shared web host doesn't allow. If you want to find information on my website, MSN search is the only way to get it right now if it's not on the front page.

      Of course, the order that the results are returne

    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      5 years ago:

      Can't see what this would possibly give over Yahoo or other great search engines. What possible benefit could Google give to this that is not already there? Why bother reinventing the wheel, except for the purpose of advertising dominence?

      Seriously, you dont look at whats there currently and say 'Oh well, everyones using them at the moment, I might as well not bother'. And Im not just talking about Google -vs- MS Search here.
  • by Mickey Jameson ( 3209 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:33AM (#11539179)
    msn search: "bill gates sucks" - 608 matches
    google: "bill gates sucks" - 2,460 matches

    Not really shocking, I guess.
    • MSN has improved their search for the keyword "Linux". Before it highlighted biased studies comparing Linux to Windows, now it is entirely, at least on the first page, major Linux websites. I'll still use google though.
      • by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @10:07AM (#11539479)
        My experiences differ. I'm located in the Netherlands, so I only get Dutch (and Belgian) news hits. I haven't figured out yet how to circumvent this as I'm not primarily interested in that news. Even selecting 'only return results in English' (for search) will give me the Dutch news hits (but English search hits). Going to the news search window and demanding only to get results in English will still get me results only in Dutch. So it seems that my IP-address precludes me from looking at global news through MSN. Very annoying, as I hardly ever am interested in Dutch news or Dutch rehashes of international news.

        Furthermore, the first news hit I get for 'Linux' is an article in Computable, "Microsoft: veiligheid van Linux is een mythe". Translated, "Microsoft: safety of Linux is a myth". Second and third news item are ok (skype and cheap linux laptops). I do sense a bit of bias here, but it might be accidental. All in all, a less than happy user has left the MSN site, probably to never return.

    • msn search: Bill Gates ate my balls - 43,085
      google search: Bill Gates ate my balls - 47,000

      Interestingly enough, the first page on google are all "ate my balls" references, including some Bill Gates bought my balls which I don't even remember. Sadly, MSN search included such things as a complete listing of 2600 cartridges, and has no real balls to it.

    • MSN Search: 97,751,005 containing linux (0.18 seconds)

      Google Search: 224,000,000 for linux [definition]. (0.11 seconds)

      Google is faster and returns more results. Plus MSN only shows 8 per page instead of 10.
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:33AM (#11539180)
    I keep hearing stories about how they've finally launched their search engine. What does this mean exactly? More specifically, why is it that the search results on: []

    Differ from the results on: []

    Seems like a really inconsistent launch.
    • One of the things it means it that I've seen a hell of a lot of traffic from msnbot lately. They've been crawling all over the web, including image galleries.
      • So, it it REALLY launched this time? Maybe we should ask google? ff&q=msn+search&spell=1

        Results 1 - 10 of about 19,000,000 for msn search. (0.08 seconds)
        ... as opposed to msn search
        Web Results
        1-10 of 9,429,189 containing msn search (0.15 seconds)
        Twice as long, half the results - nope! Google rulez.

        With Microsoft, who gives a shit? Remember their "big security push"? Nothing came of it. Everyone who has a clue knows you can't just "bolt on" security in a couple of months. It was all about marketing, not product. Just like monkey-boy's "developers, developers, developers" - all hype, no content.

        I've seen a hell of a lot of traffic from msnbot lately.
        I checked the server logs at work yesterday, and for every legit visitor over the last 10 days there were 8 attempts to "hack in" using Winblows security holes (stupid script kiddies - why don't you at least check to see what OS is running before repeatedly trying different methods - oh, right, you're Microsnot Fanbois).

        There's a LOT of msnbots (MicroSoft Nuisance roBOTs) out there.

        Instead of wasting time and resources on a search engine, they should first fix their piece of shit insecure operating system. Or maybe they can use google's search engine to find a patch? Buy a clue?

        What the world needs isn't a Microsoft search engine - it's for Microsoft to clean up their own mess.

    • Well, besides being incosistant, I wouldn't have noticed it if it weren't for /. -- how many more googlers will actually not find out about the "new msn" for a while? Either way, it still doesn't cut it for me. I'm partial to the 1 image, one text input line and the barest of text around it look of google. The look of MSN is still too filled with "stuff". Too much of the news and added content thing, plus you get two ads for free on the first page, at about the same height as the google search bar, whereas
  • by Skraut ( 545247 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:34AM (#11539187) Journal
    They just don't get it. The reason people use Google is because it loads fast and just works. It doesn't take forever to load with flash animations, and other crap no one needs. When you want to search you go to Google. If you want to be bombarded with media and advertisements there are plenty of other sites on the internet.
  • Good thing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    I know people keep posting stuff along the lines of "oh deary me... this might kill Google", but no. It doesn't have to. MSN Search may take market share away from Google, but the people using it will be the ones who haven't figured out how to change the default search in IE, or set the homepage to something other than MSN. So, Google will hopefully become a search engine for the clueful, whilst the AOLers and WebTV people use MSN search.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by xbrownx ( 459399 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:35AM (#11539198)
    The first result for "linux" is an actual page devoted to Linux this time.

    That's progress, right?
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yeah, but try going to the new MSN in IE for Mac (OS 9.0). In the grand tradition of Microsoft development, looks like complete hell. Way to go Microsoft. Another one out of the park. ;)
  • by zenmojodaddy ( 754377 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:36AM (#11539215)
    Three Borg stories in a row? Has Slashdot been assimilated?

    Flee! Flee for your life! (Unless they're brought Jeri Ryan with them.)
  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:37AM (#11539220) Homepage Journal hit my web site no less than 10,661 times last month so I'll be interested to see what difference this has on my vistor numbers.

    When Google launched I saw my hits go up quite considerably in the space of 6 months.
    • I've had 18162 hits from msnbot in january, 13% of the total, first visitor by far. And this is on a tiny personal site that I don't even really maintain apart from the photo gallery which isn't even linked from the home page (it's linked from other sites though apparently since msn was all over it and downloaded 150 megs worth of photos...)
    • Well, is the third biggest consumer of bandwidth on my own site. Not very much, admittedly, but I'm fourth...
    • by Anonymous Coward hit my web site no less than 10,661 times last month so I'll be interested to see what difference this has on my vistor numbers.

      msnbot ate up half my bandwidth allowance in three days when it first started crawling a while back. It's the rudest robot I've ever encountered; Google manage to give me good search results with barely any bandwidth usage, so why MSN has to be so greedy I can't imagine.


      User-agent: msnbot
      Disallow: /

      went straight in my robots.txt. Problem solved.

  • So, what's the MS marketing spin that says their search is better than Google? What's Bill's reason for me to switch?

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:38AM (#11539234) Homepage
    Why doesn't this correct my spelling?

    I need to look for a specific word, but I have no idea how to spell it properly.

    How can I find what I'm looking for if I don't know how it's spelt?

    I'll stick with Google, thanks all the same.
  • Indexing gone wild (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:39AM (#11539239) Homepage
    Given the traffic reported by many PHPBB2 operators as MSNBot endlessly spidered their sites, retrieving the same pages hundreds of times via different session IDs, I wonder how accurate their page counts are going to be on any dynamic-content site.

    We had to modify our sites to remove session IDs when MSNBot comes by to cut the traffic.

  • Lovely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CmdrGravy ( 645153 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:39AM (#11539245) Homepage
    I have noticed over the last few months that the MSN Bot has been a far more frequent crawler around my site than the Google Bot which was previously far and away the most active crawler which visited me.

    Anyway for various phrases my site comes out in the number one position whereas on Google it's somewhere down in 10th place. To be fair though I am not sure my site is the best resource for these particular phrases.

    It's certainly fast as well.
  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:40AM (#11539254) Homepage Journal

    I still will be setting the home-page setting of all my users to

    On a 56K connection Microsoft's effort is still slow and clunky.

  • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:41AM (#11539261)
    here is the source code for msn search:

    response.sendRedirect( "" + query )
  • by 095 ( 710782 )

    I clicked on the picture of a smiling Mr Gates and he told me to "type in your question", so I was expecting an type search, but the results looked like any other search engine, and it did a very bad job of answering my question.

    Also, the result page was in Dutch, because it noticed that I'm in Holland, but there was no obvious link to switch to English like Google has. Presumably Google knows I prefer English because of my browser settings.

    Also, there appears to be an RSS feed, but it's not use

  • by Tei ( 520358 )
    I notice this robot has index my site, even protected by a robots.txt file.

    What the world its come? arghh..

    Fortunally enough my site its not compatible with IE :D :grin:
  • Language? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the grace of R'hllor ( 530051 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:44AM (#11539294)
    Well, searching for 'linux' only gives me Dutch pages. While I am Dutch, and on a Dutch network, if I do not check the 'search for pages in Dutch' box, shouldn't I get English pages?

    This alone is reason enough not to use it in most cases.

    But the look is clean enough, and it looks like no sponsored links on the "linux" keyword.
  • I just did a search for
    ShellExecute microsoft

    and a number of variations, and on the MS search, I didn't get any MS sites in the top few entries.

    the same search in google brings up the correct msdn documentation as #1

    Still unsure of the quality of other searches, but competition is good :)
  • Misleading link (Score:5, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:46AM (#11539311)
    That's a very misleading story article (surprise surprise), the actual page is [] - not the MSN.COM portal linked to above. It's a lot cleaner and smaller.

    Come on guys. I know we're all rooting for Google in this fight, but childish tricks like that are just not cricket.

  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by terrencefw ( 605681 ) <slashdot AT jamesholden DOT net> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:51AM (#11539350) Homepage
    Really... why? Google's search results are good. MSNBot is pulling as many pages from my site as GoogleBot, but only bringing me 2% of the visitors that Google does.

    Google has a number of advantages, like:

    • Repeat the search on USENET, Images and Froogle
    • No heavy graphics
    • Spell checking
    • Indexes and converts PDF and other formats.
    Also, it returned results from the United Kingdom, even though the UK only box wasn't ticked!

    Also, the layout and the sponsored links are a blatant ripoff of Google.

  • If this were any other company in the world, I don't know if anyone would care...

    But I'm sure Microsoft is going to bundle it with everything else, so it'll at least be viable if not actually deserving of whatever position it gets.

    I will say, though, that paying for hits with Overture was a lot more cost effective than google, even though the hits cost more.

    I guess people don't go to google to shop... or at least they don't go there if they know what they want.

    Being able to direct a large crowd of peopl
  • Which search box are you supposed to use?

    See: HP []

  • by minairia ( 608427 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:54AM (#11539384)
    I just tested out the msn site. It comes up with good links, fast, has cached pages and verifies my spelling. It doesn't quite feel as smooth or polished as Google, but that might be sujective. It definitely isn't "better" yet. However, version 1 sucked and now version 2 is more-or-less on par.

    Microsoft always plays this tortoise/hare game with its software. Every few weeks, msn search will get incrementally, imperceptibly better. I remember back in the day, IE was crap and used Netscape. Slowly, I wound up using IE more-and-more until Firefox/Mozilla came along. If the guys at Google stay on their toes and don't become complacent they shouldn't have a problem, though.

    Although I do not like Microsoft, for us the consumer, having the two giants smashing at each other for market share is nothing but good. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've felt Google has gotten lazy. Lots of the search results are nothing but sales sites these days ... with all that brain power they brag about, you'd think they could have done something about that by now.

  • first impression (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @09:57AM (#11539404) Homepage Journal
    Search for "nigritude ultramarine" (remember that?) yielded 310,385 results on MSN, -vs- 235,000 on Google. MSN took 0.16 seconds, Google took 0.08.

    On MSN's side: they're offering search results in RSS format. This is good; but: (and you know there's always a "but" when Bill is involved), their RSS results have usage restrictions:
    Copyright © 2005 Microsoft. All rights reserved. These XML results may not be used, reproduced or transmitted in any manner or for any purpose other than rendering MSN Search results within an RSS aggregator for your personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of these results requires express written permission from Microsoft Corporation. By accessing this web page or using these results in any manner whatsoever, you agree to be bound by the foregoing restrictions.

    MSN search looks interesting, for now. But I'm not giving up my Google anytime soon.

    Having said that: it would be interesting to hear from some MSN people about the architecture: how many servers? What OS? What kind of interconnect? etc.

    • Re:first impression (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skim123 ( 3322 )
      The legal disclaimer makes perfect sense to me. Think about it, they get revenue by people using their site, seeing their ads, and clicking on them. Without that legalese, they'd be opening the door for someone creating a search engine branded on their own site that uses MSN as the backend.

      Google does the exact same thing, mind you. They have the Google API [] that lets you programmatically issue search requests but you need a license (granted, it's free) and are limited to 1,000 queries per day. That que

  • The search page isn't, but []

    (Which I btw can't see properly because of bad design from microsoft, but then that was to be expected)
  • by aug24 ( 38229 )
    The page crashes (freezes) my IE (6.0 on xpsp2) here at work ;-)

  • Is there a way for it to NOT trying to guess your country and then when failing throwing up a language you don't want (and don't understand) for the interface? Due to the company I work at being finnish I always get thrown to .fi and all in finnish despite being in Sweden. Quite annoying and no obvious way to change it.
  • Just repeated the test I did [] when the Accoona [] search engine came out in 2004-12: a search on the name "Bill Clinton":

    The top result on MSN search [] is from a .biz domain called The Nostradamus Mabus Project: In Search of the Anti-Christ []. Anti-trust jokes aside, this is a crazy result, and makes anyone looking for serious information reach for the page down key immediately.

    In contrast, the top result on Google [] is Bill Clinton's official White House biography.

  • I'll stop using google when someone else makes a news site similar to theirs, but without a right wing bias built into the search routine. I'm not all that keen with them for censoring news on their Chinese site at the request of the PRC government
  • Not that crappy actors :)

    Probably because I mention Bill Gates on my homepage, in reference to My Meeting Bill Gates Photo [].

    It is the little things in life..
  • Enter some text in the search bar and then hit tab. Instead of tabbing over to search like in IE, it changes the type of search.

    Fuck these guys at Microsoft who purposefully break shit on people.
  • Google rocks! MSNS sucks!
    MSNS rocks! Google sucks!
    No! ....

    Truth: competition is good.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sbryant ( 93075 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @10:43AM (#11539836)

    Until now, Google was my preferred search engine, so that is what I am comparing against.

    I clicked the link in the story, which brings up the main MSN page. It's yet another site that doesn't use the whole browser width (and that is getting really annoying). It's also full of crap I'm not interested in (more on that below) and I notice that it tried to pop something up.

    There's an ad for their search, so I clicked that, but it redirects via, which is either a tracker site or an ad site. Either way, it was on my blocklist, so the browser went nowhere.

    So far, not impressed.

    Then it occurred to me that the search site is probably separate from the main MSN site, so I tried []. Lo and behold, a lightweight page for entering my search query, in a similar manner to Google's. No ads on this page either! I liked that. OK, so the URL is a little longer than Google's, but these days I do my searching from that input field in the top-right corner of Konqueror/Firefox.

    It also correctly detected which country I'm in - presumably from the IP address or hostname. (The MSN main page didn't, and gave me loads of US-centric stuff instead, which is what I meant by stuff I'm not interested in.) It also used localised text for the country I'm in (German). That's all well and good, but my browser settings actually specify en-gb first, so they get a point for being clever and detecting the country, but lose 10 points for completely ignoring my own preferences. I would expect the page in German if I went to, but the .com one shouldn't make such assumptions.

    I tried searching for a few various things, and compared the results to Google. It seemed that some of the more obscure terms had better results in the MSN search. Certainly, each of the two would return a different set of results for the same query. I can't really say that one was definately better than the other - this is one of those things you have to try for yourself, and it will probably only become apparent after a non-trivial amount of usage.

    One other thing that must be said to both MSN and Google: stop using bloody fixed width columns!

    I have a screen width of 1280, and in this day and age, much larger sizes are becoming more common. I want the width used more effectively so I don't have to scroll down as much. The HTML isn't even difficult! Annoying things like this give people reason to choose one site over another.

    -- Steve

  • by OnTheWay ( 529387 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @11:05AM (#11540075)
    On Google: The topmost link was a sponsored link from to download Firefox. on MSN Search: The topmost link was a sponsored link from "Download Secure IE Web Browser and Save - Compare Secure IE Browser to Firefox and see why it's better. Secure IE seals browser security leaks to provide a faster and..." It's made by a company called Winferno software. I think that was a poor choice of names ...
  • by drew ( 2081 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @11:18AM (#11540198) Homepage
    the first-ever search engine built from the ground up by Microsoft

    is this a feature or a warning?

    i'm not a particularly avid microsoft basher and i have nothing against using their software when it's the best tool for the job. still, i have to say that based on my experience, pretty much all of their good software was acquired from other sources. anything that they wrote themselves from the ground up (or have significantly re-written since acquiring it) tends to be, well, less than stellar.

VMS must die!