Live Search 2.0 discussions continue

By Chris | Posted September 10, 2007 11 comments

At the company meeting last week, the new Live Search 2.0 was demoed and has since received rave reviews from Microsoft employees (yes even mini). Sean Earp’s impresions were picked up by Scoble, with relevance still seeming to be the favourite buzzword of the Live Search team. Sean also mentions improvements around index size and instant answers but refrains from mentioning any of the juicy new bits. Of course Mary-Jo Foley has her ear to the ground, with some of the new directions the team is rumoured to be going in including:

  • New personalization capabilities integrated into Live Search
  • An integrated location/calendar/presence service that may also tie in with Live Search 2.0
  • A new capability integrating social networks, annotation (ratings and reviews) and search
  • Future integration between Outlook and Live Search 

While these sound pretty useful, its worth remembering that some of them may just be at the ideas stage and not available immediately at launch - the last point is rumoured to be an Office 14 feature, Calendar integration requires a Windows Live Calendar etc.

So with the Live Search team not talking about new features and long term aims until Searchification on Sept 26th, and Microsoft employees left right and center adding to the hype daily, we thought we’d provide a quick look at how the beta UI has changed from the existing Live Search (not looking at new features).

Homepage (comparison to existing)

Of note on the homepage is the new Video search tab, which up until now has only been a beta feature on Live Search and the inclusion of a link to the new webmasters portal. We also found one employee hinting at a cool video search preview feature, so it sounds like this is an area they have made some progress in. At the moment there is no direct link to the personalised live.com page either, but that may change between now and the launch. Not quite sure where the grey came from either… 

Results (comparison to existing)

With Search adopting the now standard Windows Live Wave 2 header, the top of the results page is now slightly cleaner than before, though its worth remembering that contextual ads will eventually be showing up in this area. Results also now feature the drill down links under the top result, giving direct access to other pages within the site. Yes Google has had this for a while, but hey its getting there.

The number of matching search results being reported has increased massively, from 99 million to 19.6 billion. Whether they are all valid results is impossible to tell, but it suggests just how much work has been done on increasing the index size. No surprise then that the Live Search beta is apparently being run from the new BlueRidge datacenter (some of the new Windows Live Hotmail accounts and Spaces photos are being hosted from here too).

The new Search 2.0 beta is already available at beta.live.com for those who work at Microsoft, unfortunately everybody else will have to wait and see what happens on September 26th.

Posted September 10th, 2007 at 11:59 pm
  • Rusticated

    The honmepage design resembles the MSN Search UI a little more than it should – especialy the grey and green colour scheme. I quite like it though – now if only they’d change the name back to Windows Live Search to stop confusing things.

  • jackiboi

    the search page sort of reminds me of the old MSN Search

  • Mirek2

    I don’t like it. The search button is now even uglier, the “see also” links are much less obvious and the searchbar is no longer in the header. And where are the personalized homepage or advanced search? I’m hoping they’re hidden under options…

  • aho

    I like the new look Live search, but i do agree with Rusticated, it should be called Windows Live search again. I like the way the homepage is sliver, and not just blue like all the other services are.

  • Alber1690

    This is so going back to the MSN Search design…there better be a lot more than to this; I doubt all of the Microsofties were getting excited over just this.

    What are you guys talking about going back to “Windows Live Search,” wasn’t it always “Live Search?”

  • aho

    @Alber1690.. i have just been looking for some screen shots of when it was named Windows Live Search:
    Here:
    http://www.all-about-content.com/uploaded_images/defaultexperience-759798.GIF
    and Here:
    http://blufiles.storage.live.com/y1peNNAHfzloVR7IRjSqJykKDUfpdau3UOc1hfNjyTCYH4wlyqp_LiQ5q_FqZPOs3G_p_BFU9IRZVQ

    On both you can clearly see Live search is named Windows Live Search

  • Jesper

    Hopefully they will take search to a new level. IMHO it has been a little stagnant lately.

  • wargarurumon

    and i dont like that green and blue scheme
    why not some reds or yellows, msoft uses to much blue

  • olliewally255

    Oh no! they arent gonna start using arial are they? i hate it, verdana is so much better. and the header on the results pane is all messy; the vedana is far too big in comparison to the normal header and its not in line with the jewel. hopefully as its beta, they’ll sort it out.

  • the andyman

    The UI doesn’t look too bad but advanced search is a must and the results page design could do with a bit of tweaking.

    “The number of matching search results being reported has increased massively, from 99 million to 19.6 billion.” – About time is all I can say about that.

    When you talk about “the new BlueRidge datacenter (some of the new Windows Live Hotmail accounts and Spaces photos are being hosted from here too)” I presume that is that why some Hotmail accounts have bl[number] in the url instead of bay[numer] (and I presuume the SkyDrive files using http://blufiles.storage.live.com/whatever are hosted there too).

  • Chris

    Yes that’s correct about the datacenter.