Live Search, which was first "leaked" last week, is now live and in the wild. According to the Live Search team, the improvements cover four major areas: an expanded index (reports say Live now searches 20 billion pages), faster load times, a new look and feel, and more integrated content.The latest iteration of Microsoft's
I was going to remark that because I use Google and Yahoo! almost exclusively for my searching, it would be hard for me to comment on speed improvements at Live Search, but I'm actually not seeing the new Live at all. I'm still getting the old results, and the old design. So it's hard for me to comment on any of it.
The latest comScore numbers have Microsoft's search property pulling just 11.3% of the market -- a loss of a percentage point compared to the previous month. According to Search Engine Land, Live Search actually has 70 million users per month in the US, reaching 38% of all search engine users. Their search share is just 11%, however, because most of those searchers aren't using Live Search with any regularity. 70 million users searching just a handful of times per month won't catch you up to Google, who logged 9.8 billion searches in August.
Microsoft is the most recent of the major search engines operating in Google's shadow to release a slew of new features in an attempt keep up with Mountain View. Ask launched Ask3D in June, while Yahoo! updated its algorithm just yesterday and has been soft launching new features the past few months.
One of the most intriguing features that Microsoft has rolled out today, is the improved Microsoft Answers, which compare to Yahoo!'s shortcuts feature. Answers provide packaged content from pre-selected sources to searchers. For example, a search for "digital cameras" will return an Answers box including photos of top-selling digital cameras, and links to reviews and purchasing locations via MSN Shopping. Like the Yahoo! Shortcuts, they not only add utility for searchers, but also direct users to content at other company properties. One area where both Microsoft and Yahoo! still trump Google is in editorial content, so this is a smart strategy for both companies.
Mary Jo Foley has a pair of interesting tid bits about today's Live Search news. First, Microsoft is planning new releases of its search engine twice yearly -- and next Spring's release will have "community" enhancements (though it's unclear what that means). Second, Microsoft is apparently still kicking around the idea of ditching the Live name. As Foley writes: "Live it!" just doesnÄôt have the ring of "Google It!"
Screenshot from Search Engine Land since I'm still seeing the old Live Search page.