Microsoft officially enters search engine fray
Im not sure if the Globe and Mail are breaking an NDA here but it looks like they might be, especially in light of peter's comments - one of the "SearchChamps" team.
From the Globe and Mail piece:
Microsoft has declared war on Google, Yahoo and other search engines with MSN Search, which is being officially launched tonight at midnight, Feb. 1.
After a development period of just 21 months, MSN Search — in Canada at search.sympatico.msn.ca — Microsoft took the final wraps off its newest product, which it promises will offer a "more personalized search experience."
Microsoft's entry into search-engine technology represents the Redmond, Wash., software giant's attempt to take a bigger bite out of the lucrative search-engine pie. Ad revenue from searches on all engines in Canada added up to $21.3-million in 2004, aimed at the country's 16.4 million Internet users.
Let the games begin...
News Officially Broken
...and some quotes and links from the more interesting sources:
Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Microsoft was now in a position to differentiate its offering.
"There is a tremendous opportunity for rapid innovation here," Mr. Gates said in an e-mail interview, "and the great thing about the launch of MSN Search is that we now have a strong platform in place that will enable us to begin to deliver those innovations to consumers."
Microsoft has added a few features meant to differentiate its new service.
It has included, free, the content from its Encarta encyclopedia, which until now has been fee-based.
- Even more focus on "answers" via Encarta Premium content, which is now free.
- Support for RSS search feeds.
- New design, and incorporation into all of MSN, the Messenger IM client, and the MSN Toolbar.
MSFT will be spending some marketing money on promoting its new search engine, I was told in a briefing last week. Let's hope it's better than the MSN marketing of past years...
Gary Price - Many MSN Direct Answers Now Online
Gary takes a look at some of the advanced features and the controversial inclusion of Encarta in the mix and what you can do with it...
With this final push we have made more than 40,000 Encarta encyclopedia articles and associated media available for free to MSN Search users, which translates to more than 1.5 million Instant Answers. We also improved and integrated Newsbot, added a button for RSS feeds on the bottom of all applicable search results pages, and increased our MSN Music selection.
We have been doing a ton behind the scenes over the last few weeks as well, tuning performance and working on scaling the system to handle MSN’s volume.
Google still reigns supreme as the site people turn to most often when they go online to answer a query, keep up with news or search for images.
But in the last year Google has faced greater competition than ever for users as old rivals, such as Yahoo and Microsoft, and new entrants such as Amazon and Blinkx, try to grab some of the searching audience for themselves.