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What would you do if you were tasked with designing a new search engine?

You have all the resources the world can offer and the certain knowledge that your project is so important to your employer that mountains, molehills, companies, code and really comfy office chairs will be moved, built or acquired to meet your needs, no questions asked. Your boss demands a product that is better than best and, having failed to notice how overwhelmingly essential search would become back when he came to dominate everything else, appears ready to back your project with missionary zeal and Machiavellian maneuvering. The cold hard truth is, the future of one of the largest corporations in the world, owned incidentally by the world’s wealthiest man, may well rest on your shoulders. In this scenario, there are no obstacles, only the challenge of beating Google at Google’s best game. Whoa…. Read more…

Innovation in the world of search seems to come in waves with the major search engine firms appearing to follow each other’s lead in the development of new products, tools and services. Witness today’s introduction of a desktop search/toolbar by MSN. Search engines are standardizing their services around the basic business model of contextual ad delivery and introducing new products and features designed to win the loyalty of new users and retain the loyalty of old ones. The past year has been one of the most expansive and interesting in the world of search since day one. Two major trends, personalization and localization, combined with the competitive necessity to gain users and advertisers provided the foundation for development of desktop search applications and the immense number of toolbars available now. The goal of all major search firms is to offer results that are relevant to an individual searchers’ profile in the least steps possible. User adoption of toolbars and desktop search are major steps in accomplishing that goal. Read more…

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Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

MSN PREVIEW

A REAL MSN PreviewThere has been mucho chatter on the airwaves about the up and coming MSN search engine. For the second time there is a preview for tech users to check out and run searches on. Check it out here and see where your site sits within the database right now.

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

MSN Search is ALMOST in the House

Bill Gates has announced that MSN is about to revamp its search feature and introduce a new, proprietary back-end database to run it. Speaking in Sydney Australia, Gates informed journalists, “The format of the site will change and so will the quality of what you get.” We expect the look of the site to change before the technology does but when the back-end is introduced, it may act like no other search tool currently does. Having conducted linguistics and taxonomy research for the better part of a decade, the Microsoft team expects to be able to not only find documents based on specific keywords and phrases, but to also find documents based on the context of the keyword phrase or full sentences entered into their new search tool. While Gates did not set a firm date, the new tool is expected to be released before the end of 2004.

Every few months it is a good idea to review SEO techniques in light of changes in the ranking algorithms used by the major search engines. As of today, there are only two major organic search tools we worry about, Google, and Yahoo. Both of these search tools look at different elements of your website when considering where to rank the site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While considered one of the “Big Three”, MSN continues to receive results from the Yahoo/Inktomi database with LookSmart listings being displayed from time to time. MSN is likely to release its own algorithmic search engine in the coming months. What works for Yahoo tends to work with MSN. Please note, these basic rules for rankings may change at any given moment. That’s one of the things that make this job so much fun… Read more…

A study of search engines and search engine user habits found that in almost every instance, the results found at each of the five search engines studied were relativity similar to each other. The study was recently conducted by San Mateo market research firm Vividence and consisted of searches conducted by general search users on Google, Yahoo, MSN, Lycos and Ask Jeeves. Asked to find the answers to a series of questions designed to show how each engine performed and which engine produced the greatest user satisfaction, participants found the correct answer on one engine as frequently as they did on the others.

On the performance test, each engine fared equally well. On the user satisfaction test however, Google emerged as the clear winner with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 68% compared to 59 percent for Yahoo, 56 percent for Ask Jeeves, 53 percent for MSN and 48 percent for Lycos. According to the study, Google ranked high in user satisfaction for three main reasons, its strong brand name, the site’s uncluttered appearance, and the fact that paid advertising is clearly marked.

MSN has released new information on its forthcoming search technology.

MSN Blogbot & Newsbot

MSN product manager, Karen Redezki told Matt Hicks of eWeek that MSN will be launching a blog and news service to the public before its new algorithmic search engine is released. Read more…

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Friday, March 19th, 2004

MSN Inks New LookSmart Deal

MSN has inked a deal with LookSmart to display LookSmart results in place of Inktomi results from time to time. The deal, which was finalized early this week, allows MSN to transfer from results drawn from the Inktomi database to results fed by LookSmart whenever MSN feels it is necessary, for whatever reason.

One of the easiest ways of telling if the results you see on MSN are from LookSmart is to look in the top right hand corner of the results page and see the number of sites associated with the keyword phrase. If the number is smaller, the results are most likely drawn from LookSmart. At this time, it is not known why MSN would want to draw results from LookSmart, however the deal does add much needed revenue to LookSmart’s beleaguered bottom line.

At some point or another we have all heard the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Until very recently site owners, webmasters, SEO’s, and pretty much anyone who had anything to do with the Internet was concerned with marketing on one property: Google. Read more…

LookSmart has signed a deal with Microsoft for MSN to display LookSmart search results at times. The recent agreement, which LookSmart announced yesterday, leaves it up to MSN to decide when to use the listings.
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