RealTime IT News

Microsoft Goes Live With Search

Microsoft cranked up its own search engine today and plans an advertising blitz expected to reach at least 90 percent of U.S. consumers in an effort to overtake Google's narrowing lead in the search engine wars. At stake is the $2.6 billion search advertising market, expected to surge to $5.5 billion in the next four years.

As reported by internetnews.com on Monday, the new search engine debuted under the banner of the Microsoft Network (MSN). The product was developed using a new algorithm with five billion indexed entries in its database.

The search engine replaces the previous deal Microsoft had to use Yahoo's search engine. Microsoft will continue to use paid listings generated by Yahoo-owned Overture.

In development for two years, Microsoft's search engine features search tabs for the Web, news, music, images, and desktop. Users can ask a direct question and obtain information pulled from Microsoft's Encarta online encyclopedia, a dictionary and a calculator. A Search Near Me feature provides information and resources close to the user's location.

The music function allows consumers to search for a recording artist, song or album. The search results provide links to music files and other content provided by MSN Music. Users are also able to sample music, purchase and download music.

"This built-from-the-ground-up version of MSN Search provides an infrastructure that enables us to rapidly innovate and give consumers precisely the information theyre looking for, no matter where it's located," Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate VP of Information Services, said in a statement.

Google's success in the search field over the last few years has prompted others to take a serious look at the market. Google currently dominated the market with almost 50 percent of all Internet searches. Yahoo holds down the number two spot with 24 percent of all searches. Microsoft currently accounts for 14 percent of all searches.

During Microsoft's latest shareholders' meeting, held in November, Chairman Bill Gates acknowledged the company's trailing position in search. "We have competitors in some cases getting in earlier than we are, and we need to make sure that we come along and do an even better job than they do," he said.

Microsoft launched the beta version of its search engine in November, offering multiple ways to narrow results, including providing local results and natural language search.

Earlier in the summer, MSN's searchbots began crawling the Webin July, building a unique index.