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
Web
in July, building a unique index.

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