Microsoft unveiled its latest Internet search page, yet another attempt to unseat Google. The “Windows Live” name is being attached to many web-based Microsoft projects right now, so the new name is Windows Live Search. Currently the results are driven by the same engine behind MSN Search, but Microsoft promises that it will be enhanced soon to produce results that are neato keen compared to Google’s search results. Here’s an article about Windows Live Search.
To go along with the new search page, Microsoft also described a Windows Live Toolbar that does mildly interesting tricks, and promises that Windows Live Search will be deeply embedded in various other Windows Live services soon – Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail, and the like. (As of Wednesday morning, the new toolbar doesn’t appear to be online.)
Perhaps it will grow on us, but my first impression of Windows Live Search is underwhelming. Google introduced a clean, spartan interface; Microsoft decided to one-up Google by removing everything from the opening search page except a box. The results are presented in an odd window with a non-standard scroll bar. Previews pop out in interesting ways (search for images and you’ll see what I mean), but without the image size information onscreen that I frequently use in Google’s results. I don’t see the reason to switch yet.