Live Search is my primary search engine, and while it’s not perfect, I think it does a bunch of great things. For those who still use Google or Yahoo!, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite things about Live Search.
Here it goes:
- Video Search – I LOVE Video Search! Live Search Video is like the best. It indexes videos from tons of sites (not just YouTube), and you can filter by most-recent/relevance, source, duration, aspect ratio, and resolution. Hover your cursor over a video thumbnail, and a short preview will play directly in the thumbnail. Now that’s awesome! You can also bookmark a video in the results, into the site’s favorites. . Practically the best all-around video search engine there could be.
- Image Search – To be honest, the results I get aren’t always superb as say Google’s, but the tech behind Live Image Search is great. The page is really clean, and isn’t bloated with so much text I don’t need to see, infinite scrolling, and the ability to drag and drop photos I like into separate collections on the side. And the search filter tools for images are fairly good. Top-notch, but do a search for "Microsoft logo" in Google and Live Image Search, and you’ll see who does better in the results area.
- Instant Answers – Instant Answers rock! I really think Microsoft came with this first, before Google did, when I was a novice to Microsoft’s new Windows Live. Like in the search box, type in ‘define’ in front of a word you’re not familiar with, and Live Search will display the Encarta Dictionaries definition. Or simply search ‘weather’, ‘movies’, ‘pizza’ and you’ll get nice IA’s if you’re location is set in Settings. I also like this year’s Olympic integration where you could search up a country and add ‘medal count’ to get the current medal count standing during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Or use Live Search as a calculator, find out a famous figure’s birthyear, etc. Very nifty stuff. It’s really a tool to find quick common-day information instantly.
- Health Search – Microsoft has made a wonderful web aggregate for finding information on certain medical terminology you might search for. Seeing multiple health sites listed in great style, refinement tools, regular web results, and the usual sponsored results is good. You can even save searches or links to your HealthVault Scrapbook. Much better than a traditional web search. I’d say they could rearrange the UI better, make it more robust and graphical and all that.
- Live Search Maps – To be truthful, I’m not talking about the search part. It’s just that the mapping technology is great. I love the visual style, the way the UI works, the mapping features, etc. 3D in a browser, and all that. It’s really top notch. Though I’m not sure Live Search Maps belongs in the Live Search group.
- Macros – A macro is like selecting certain websites that you want to search from. Instead of searching the whole web, you can make a macro to see results in only these sites you picked. I’m not aware of any other search engine that has this nifty feature, so it’s great to see Live Search ahead of the competition in this area. You can make a macro of up to 30 websites.
- Live.com homepage – I like the daily picture that comes up in the background. It’s a real nice touch, and it doesn’t get in the way of the search box. That’s about it. The other parts of the homepage aren’t my style.
These reasons are the only parts that makes Live Search really worth it for people. I’d say that the way Live Search displays the results are often times better than the results that come up themselves.
Microsoft could definitely try beefing up Live Search with much more, if they really want to be a strong competitor to Google and Yahoo!. That’s what my next post is about.
What do you like about Live Search?