Home Microsoft’s Live Search – Next Generation, or Competitive Bluster?

Microsoft’s Live Search – Next Generation, or Competitive Bluster?

“Why on
earth does the world need another search engine?”, asks the new Live Search promotional site. In addition to that
website, as John Battelle’s
Searchblog reports
, Microsoft has launched a campaign for Live Search with digital
and print ads in major newspapers – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Seattle
Times/PI, SF Chronicle, USAPicture 7-5 Today.

The Live Search promotion site also quotes Battelle from his book The Search:
“Search is at best 5% solved–we’re not even in the double digits of its potential.”

That’s something that Google no doubt agrees with. Google’s execs are regularly quoted
as saying search is far from a solved problem. Take this Marissa Mayer quote from a recent InternetWeek

‘As successful as Google’s search engine is, Mayer feels it could be better. “Search
is superprimitive,” she said. “It’s disappointing that it’s not advancing as much as we
had hoped.”‘

I imagine 5% is about equal to “superprimitive”.

In the Live Search promotions, Microsoft points out practical improvements to search
like its slider bar and maps. On another
page explaining Live Search
, the opening line is: “Say hello to the next generation
of search”. There’s also some competitive jibing (see screenshot below).

Yet, apart from the slider bar on the image search (which is cool, I admit), I really
don’t see much evidence of innovation on Live Search. Is there anything new that Google,
Yahoo or Ask don’t already have? Not much, no. Things like Instant Answers are
nice, but the others have similar features.

I don’t mean to rag on Microsoft here, because I generally have been impressed by its
Windows Live strategy. It’s just that I don’t see much to back up Microsoft’s claims of
innovation and “next generation” for Live Search — am I missing something? There’s
nothing wrong with a bit of competitive bluster, but pretty soon Live Search is going to
have to come up with the goods to back it up.

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