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Inspecting MSN Search 345

ins0maniac writes "I compared Yahoo, Google and MSN's image search. I noticed that, MSN's search had images from only a few sites. I searched for keywords britney spears and randomly checked few pages upto page number 20 and found that the 400 images were only from 3 domains :|, and This is totally weird as it doesn't seem like a search engine, but a collection of few online galleries." There's a number of other interesting notes in the entry about the new search engine. Also, Britney.
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Inspecting MSN Search

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  • A revenue stream.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phuturephunk ( 617641 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:25AM (#11550091)
    ..Is a revenue stream. The galleries in question probably pay for dominance. Yeah, this seems contrary to a full free search, but at least the results are on subject.

    The real task, it would seem, would be to find a way to have the engine return the proper pictures for the proper searches (so typing in Daddy's birthday doesn't result in pictures of some 50 something dude banging some barely legal chick with a party hat on.)

    Stuff like that.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:27AM (#11550104) Homepage Journal

    The galleries in question probably pay for dominance

    That's what I think however I didn't see results from [] (BillG's stock photo company) in any results of searches that I did. And I did search for pretty generic stuff (ie: "ansel adams" who, I believe, Corbis owns the rights to)
  • by Shardin ( 696999 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:31AM (#11550141)
    I'm no MS supporter, but do you think this might be because the new search engine has been crawling the web for a fraction of the length of time Yahoo and Google have been crawling the web?
  • search for "linux" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CausticPuppy ( 82139 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:32AM (#11550145) Homepage
    ...and the very first link on the page (under "sponsored sites") is:
    Windows outperforms Linux: Industry case studies and test lab results provide insight into the advantages of the Microsoft®...

  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mreed911 ( 794582 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:33AM (#11550156)
    The original article has been /.'ed already, but there's a cogent point to be made:

    Unless the images are titled, tagged, annotated, etc., there's no good way to index them.

    If I just throws a bunch of images up on a web site, there's not good technology, other than some pretty advanced facial recognition stuff, that can determine who, or what, a particular picture represents.

    Change the resolution, color depth, etc. and I change the checksum for the image, so the index fails to recognize that one picture is the "same" as another, just resized, etc.

    I see a lot of that on Google's image search - but can't find a way around it, either.
  • it looks like... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jxyama ( 821091 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:39AM (#11550207)
    MSN image search is returning results where the image filename actually contains "britney" and "spears." as far as i saw on the first page of the results, all the files have "...britney_spears....jpg" name. if such is the algorithm being used, this severely limits the number of possible hits.

    this is contrary to google image search where it's not simply searching for filenames. google search seems to understand that images of britney spears need not have "britney" and "spears" in the filename.

  • by ceeam ( 39911 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:40AM (#11550212)
    Actually they all claim to _totally_ refresh their DBs in 2-7 days, IIRC. How does it matter for how long they have been doing this then?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:54AM (#11550301)
    No, the OP suggested that sites pay for ranking in the results. Makes sense, but then a company owned by Gates didn't seem to rank anywhere. I'm thinking that their search index just isn't complete yet. They have a lot of catching up to do (re:google).
  • by PocketPick ( 798123 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:55AM (#11550309)
    Your logic is true for more than just webpages. It spans basically Microsoft's entire software library. Balmer's arrogantly stated that it "one mistake" was that it didn't get involved in the 'search' industry earlier, but anyone who has followed Microsoft's trail can tell you that thier late to the table more often than not. And even when they are on time, the product is often a faulty or damaged good that doesn't operate at the level of other competitor products.

    -IE debacle, where Microsoft played catch-up to Netscape and other existing browsers after failing to neglect thier need in earlier years.
    -Direct3D, which played second fiddle to OpenGL for years in usability and features till Microsoft finally began adopting parts of OpenGL's paradigm for computer graphics.
    -The modern desktop GUI. A product of Apple in many respects, but later was adopted by Microsoft.
    -Powerpoint, Visio and other 'Office' products. They were created by other companies, and then consumed by Microsoft.

    And the list goes on and on. Today thier trying to same with hand-held media players (derived from the success of iPods), search technologies (coming from Yahoo, Google, and other succesfull search/advertisement ventures), spyware detection and many other Microsoft 'Innovations' that are soon to hit the market.
  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:58AM (#11550333) Homepage
    The search engine at Micro$oft (M$) currently has indexed about 1 billion web pages [], but Google has indexed several times that amount. Given time, M$ will eventually index more pages. Eventually, M$ will catch up.

    The current barrier to entering the market for search engines is low. The technology is relatively simple as the multitude of search-engine companies will attest.

    The advantage that M$ has, over Google, is its huge R&D budget. M$ labs is the modern-day equivalent of the venerable Bell Laboratories, which is shriveling under the management of Lucent. M$ has plucked numerous professors from the computer science departments at top universities by offering incredibly high salaries.

  • by TheViffer ( 128272 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:00AM (#11550355)
    On the flip side, is if you do a search for "best operating system", your first result is In fact, I was not even able to find Microsoft listed. Amiga and QNX even came up before Windoze.

    Guess the search engine is not so bad after all.
  • by Phoe6 ( 705194 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:00AM (#11550357) Homepage Journal
    Try to provide a Feedback. It does not proceed. I tried to provide MSN a Feedback about there is noway to get to the main page after searching. Pops up a Windows BOX containing Submission information and gives up. btw, I use Firefox and I bother not to check for the same on IE.
  • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:25AM (#11550569)
    At least your search returned English pages first, I'm getting Dutch pages first, even when my preferences are set to 'Search pages in all languages' instead of Dutch. Yes, I'm in Holland, but when searching for Linux I really have more use for pages in English.
  • by Dr. Cody ( 554864 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:46AM (#11550813)
    When I'm browsing thumbnails, I I search engine to return the appropriate photos!

    You know, it's a wonder nobody has started spoofing image thumbnails by returning a different image when a Googlebot comes by.

    Surfer: Mmmmm... Hot, nude bored housewives...


    Website: Hello.jpg!
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:48AM (#11550833) Homepage Journal
    What continues to surprise me is how image searches ignore the information embedded in images. EXIF & IPTC (& NewsML) all have fields for author, caption, longitude & latitude, keywords, etc. Yet none of the search engines appear to pay any attention to these.

    Many pictures include this sort of search-rich information, either from the camera or added manually, using cataloging software. Google's Picasa 2 [] freeware (Windows only) embeds it's key words just so. Microsoft Research's excellent freeware (Windows only) World-Wide Media eXchange [] tools do the same for geo-coding photos. There are numerous other tools that can do the same, leading to a significent set of internally 'tagged' material.

    So, why aren't the search engines taking advantage of this? They're already loading the images and creating thumbnails, how much extra work is it to extract any additional information in the file and use that in it's indexing too, especially compared to the potentially increased accuracy?

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:01PM (#11551021) Journal
    It would be ok if microsofts success with "borrowed" ideas was because they implemented them better than anyone else. But they don't. They're successful because they abuse their monopoly status. And that's worthy of bashing.
  • OVERTURE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sloveless ( 518479 ) <<moc.neetxisowt> <ta> <lds>> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:10PM (#11551144) Homepage
    All of the sponsored sites are Overture links. Do the same search at Overture and compare the results. Also, compare the search tool bar itself at with Built from the ground up, my ass. 5&tid=109 []
  • by menkhaura ( 103150 ) <> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:12PM (#11551166) Homepage Journal
    Allright, but how did they get monopoly in the first place, having as bad products as they have?
  • by WebCrapper ( 667046 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:15PM (#11551198)
    I HAD mod points and was going to use them, but does anyone else see the irony of a "Linux" website designed in a very bad FrontPage theme?
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
    <meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
    <title>Open source powa</title>
    <meta name="Microsoft Theme" content="linux 111, default">
    <meta name="Microsoft Border" content="tb, default">
    BTW, they took down the Gallery
  • Re:it looks like... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by robertdfeinman ( 829025 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @01:27PM (#11552008) Homepage
    Since my web site is mostly photographs I have spent a lot of time on this issue. All the search engines do a poor job of non-text material. I've attempted to give them some help by including meta-data in the image, but as far as I can tell they don't use it. MSN spider has been through my site many times over the past year. They don't seem to just crawl parts of it. For an extended essay on this topic you can visit this page on my site: s.html []
    It's part of an overall concern on the gatekeeper effect that having only a few search engines creates.
  • Misleading example (Score:2, Interesting)

    by waltsj19 ( 844877 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:07PM (#11552473)
    While the search for Britney may show results from only 3 domains, this does not seem to be the norm. A search for "Lord of the Rings" returned 13 different domains in the first 20 pics alone (as did searches for "King Tut" and "Robin Yount"). The difference is that those 3 domains for Britney are domains that basically exist for the purpose of providing celebrity pics. Hence, they will tend to dominate that search.

    Personally, I like the image portion of M$N Search and find it to be extremely accurate in finding relevant images (and it really is hard for me to admit that I like something that M$ has developed).

  • by narrowhouse ( 1949 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:51PM (#11553958) Homepage
    OK, I'll bite.

    MS-DOS a product bought from another company.
    Licensed to IBM partially through having the rails at IBM greased by a friend of the Gates family on IBM's board.

    Other DOS products are later coming to market because all of the IBM PC's and software were shipped and built with MS-DOS. First to market equal a temporary but real "natural monopoly"

    Windows is introduced, goes no where (1.1)
    New Windows (2.0) goes nowhere.
    Windows 3 comes out and interest grows. About this time DR-DOS starts to make in-roads with a smaller memory footprint and better tools.

    Through all early versions of Windows MS-DOS compatibility is a key requirement because they hold the dominant position in that market.

    Windows 3.1 comes out with a mysterious message that indicates using anything other than MS-DOS could have dire consequences (not just opinion a court found this to be anti-competitive behavior years after the fact) 3.0, 3.1, 3.11 all contain some "peer networking" to help eat away at the Novell NOS. (not non-competetive, very shrewd)

    OS/2 (first big "non-dos" OS for IBM PC's since CPM) written by MS for IBM. The enterprise market shows interest.
    OS/2 version 2 comes out, hailed as the future by Microsoft and IBM.
    Development of OS/2 slows, friction between IBM and MS.
    IBM pulls OS/2 away from MS, because it becomes apparent that MS has been dragging it's feet so that it has time to develop a competing product.

    DR-DOS begins to rebuild from the "mysterious" message in 3x versions of windows. But it is too late, Windows 95 comes out almost impossible to separate it from MS-DOS. Now the GUI is king for sure.

    Windows NT comes out. Runs text mode OS/2 apps because of a shared code base.

    So there you go. Get the business through inside contacts (hey it's business, it happens), screw one competitor and pay the (small) price in court later to keep your momentum. Screw a partner to buy time, ideas and capital for your next generation product...PROFIT!

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.