New Live Search vs. Google
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The other day we wrote about the upcoming Live Search redesign, and last night Microsoft posted an official announcement on it. On the Live Search blog they said that they are rolling out the new design across the world right now, but I still don’t see the changes.

Luckily though you can modify the search URL to store the necessary cookie in your browser so that you immediately see the new design! All you have to do is change the “FORM=LIVSOP” to “FORM=PRESS” when performing a search. Alternatively you can click here to perform a search with that parameter already added. After that you should see the new design for every search you perform.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

  • Relevance, relevance, relevance.  We’ve quadrupled the size of our index, which means we can return the right results for your searches.  Improvements like enhanced ranking algorithms, auto-spell correction and better stop word handling help us return the best results. 
  • Speed.  Pages load much faster than before.
  • Streamlined look and feel.  We focused on the end-to-end experience from the homepage throughout the site.  For example, search results are now easier to read thanks to work on typography, contrast, colors and spacing.
  • More high-interest content.  You asked us for more in Entertainment, Shopping, Health, Local and Video search and we’re happy to deliver it.

As I’ve previously stated the new design bares a remarkable resemblance to Google, but I believe that’s a good thing. Live Search also sports a new search algorithm that, in my opinion, is extremely close to the results you would expect to see on Google (as the screenshot above shows). I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think it would be possible to switch from Google to Live Search now without experiencing the frustrations of poor results. Am I going to switch? I doubt it, but I’m saying that it actually seems more possible now than it ever was.

So Kudos to Microsoft for offering what I finally believe is a viable search engine, but why don’t you do a few searches and let us know what you think about the quality of the results.