Microsoft reveals new seach site beta.

In an effort to compete on a more even footing with Yahoo and Google, Microsoft is developing their own search engine, one that relies on their own search and spidering algorithms, (rather then using the results from other engines as MSN search does now.)

You can test the results now at MSN Tech preview.
The beta search is only using a database of about one billion documents, which is much much smaller then the other major search engines, but HTMLfixIT is already in there, so I guess that’s a good sign. :-)

If Microsoft are going to use algorithms like Google in order to create their own “pagerank” type technology, that can only be seen as a good thing as my personal experience of the current MSN search has been pretty dismal, particularly when compared to Google.

I’m also inclined to think that HTMLfixIT will benefit greatly from this, as Microsoft’s preview engine already gives better results for HTMLfixIT then their existing MSN search. See: MSN beta search for “statistical hit counter”
and: Google for “statistical hit counter”
As you can see, in both cases, HTMLfixIT is the first result. (in this particular case, the normal MSN also returns us as the first result, but that’s the exception rather then the rule.)

What does this mean? Well it possibly means that MSN’s search results will be much more like Googles are now, and that can only be a good thing as I’ve found that Google still returns the best results of any engine I have tried up to this point.

As an added bonus for us, Google apparently loves HTMLfixIT (in the first 15 days of this month, Google has sent 3238 unique visitors to us.), so if MSN gets results more like Google, it’s likely to mean more visitors for us. :-)
We don’t pay Google or any other search engine for our rankings, and it’s likely we never will. We don’t believe in paid results being put ahead of and undistinguishable from “real” results, as we don’t believe that it’s in the best interest of consumers that the companies with the most money get listed ahead of those with better content. Content should always be the deciding factor when it comes to search engines. Even Microsoft have realised this, because they have started reducing the “paid” subscription results on MSN search. The subject played a large part at the recent Jupitermedia’s Search Engine Strategies 2004 conference. The outline that seems to have appeared is that Yahoo stands by their decision that the corporate wallet was a good deciding factor for a sites validity. They appear to be the only ones though as most others have either scaled back, or completely removed their paid ranking systems.

Search is something that has become the new ‘browser war’ with the big guys all gunning for your business, and it’s already extending beyond the Internet to your own hard drive, digital television and audio, and will end up encompassing pretty much everything. It’s the next evolution of the Internet, where domains names and site address’s mean much less then the content hosted on them.



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