Search, Give, and share with “Live Search”

Some changes are beginning to pop with Live Search, up to including a possible new name and brand.  Yesterday at SMX Advanced, Online Services President Kevin Johnson talked to Danny Sullivan for Search Engine Watch about branding.  From the Associated Press:

Now that Microsoft has abandoned its $47.5 billion takeover bid for competitor Yahoo Inc., its marketing team is working on fixing Microsoft’s search image to make it more competitive with Google Inc., Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division said at a search advertising conference in Seattle hosted by the parent company of news site

Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand, asked Johnson if he meant Microsoft wants to "change" its image in search instead of fix it.

"Fix means fix," Johnson replied. "If that means change, we’ll change."

In recent weeks, Live Search has redone the home page, announced the “cashback” program, integrated into Live Search, updated Live Search for Mobile, pulled the plug on Live Search Books and Academic, revamped Live Search Club, completed a major deal with HP to pre-install a Live Search Toolbar on all new HP computers, starting next year, offered new webmaster tools and 404 redirects, and now today has announced two more bits of news.

The first, Search and Give is a program that donates money to charities when users use Live Search through a special web page:

By signing up at, consumers can start donating one-cent to more than 100K schools and 900K non-profit organizations worldwide, every time they use the Internet to find whatever interests them – up to 500 searches permitted per person per month. People can also convert the tickets they’ve earned playing games on Microsoft’s Live Search Club, at, into donations for those same schools or charities!

Available today at:


and then Microsoft Research has just announced a beta of a pilot program called “SearchTogether”, which allows users to collaborate on searches.  This collaboration helps in a number of ways, according to an announcement on the MSR page:

  • Awareness: The most valuable of the three. This is enabled by sharing group query histories and making them interactive, thereby reducing duplication. This process also can promote search learning, in which someone with rudimentary search skills can learn how to formulate more effective search queries by working with a person with more expertise. The ability to see other group members’ comments and ratings on specific search results also provides awareness about the group’s progress toward accomplishing their shared task.
  • Division of labor: SearchTogether integrates session-specific instant messaging into the search experience so that those working together on a search project don’t have to switch back and forth between a search client and Live Messenger to negotiate division of labor. Additionally, special collaborative query styles, such as “split searching,” provide automatic division of labor by partitioning a single set of search results among all team members. Sharing of queries and recommendations helps make the search effort productive.
  • Persistence: The group’s queries, comments, ratings, and chats are stored in a persistent search session, facilitating asynchronous communication and helping collaborators get up to speed.

Watch a video demo of SearchTogether

Download SearchTogether