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New Beta from MSN Search

 9:46 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

News.Com article [news.com.com]

The Microsoft-owned division launched a test site for MSN Search on Tuesday that omits banner advertisements and a large navigation column for the MSN network, freeing up more room on the page to display query results. The new site also says that it can display results 65 percent faster than before.

I believe this is the url for the site. [beta.search.msn.com]

On the advanced page [beta.search.msn.com] you'll also options to limit your search to the following formats:
PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel

[edited by: rubble88 at 10:04 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2003]



 9:55 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Quite an improvement, I'd say... they've gone from "so much junk cluttering everything up it's totally unbearable" straight to Altavista's level, "still pretty messy but at least usable".

The input box is still far too short though.

jeremy goodrich

 12:04 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

That results page is a little easier to read - though still not easy for me to handle.

Nice to see they are getting an interest in faster display of their results -> that was much quicker than before.


 11:48 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's really too bad about the menus though. You'd think a company with that many programmers could get a simple html page right.



 12:37 pm on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

The search listings descriptions have also changed, looks like they are taking them from other parts of the page in some cases now.

nonprof webguy

 5:39 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

The SERP descriptions are not necessarily from the page each result points to. For example, the description they use for my page is not our official one, but appears to have been taken from some other person's listing of our web site. (It's not from DMOZ, which has our preferred description.)

That's annoying, because this description uses a specific word we always avoid using when describing ourselves! I think I'll write to MSN to complain. I'll let yall know if I get any response.


 5:42 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Big improvement IMO.

The text reads all the way across the screen. The default font is larger. Less clutter. Better than AV, which has way too many text link ads.

This looks almost as good as Google (dare I say it!).

Let's not confuse looks with relevance though. :)


 6:05 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

nonprof_webguy: the descriptions are often taken from the Zeal directory - have a look to see what your description there is.


 7:05 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are they using a different database for the beta?

The search results for some of the terms I follow are similar but not the same as the results on the regular MSN search.


 7:10 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just answered my own question at Ink Pure Search.

It seems the Beta is using the newest Ink Database with adult filter on while the regular Msn Search is using adult filter off.

It's amazing to see what gets caught in the filter.

<edited>Corrected findings</edited>

[edited by: Big_Balou at 7:36 pm (utc) on Feb. 13, 2003]


 7:15 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is also more information in this thread:


 8:08 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well if they still use the Looksmart DB i am not impressed with any other changes, as they are purely cosmetic.

What they need to do now, is DUMP looksmart and get the Serps from somewhere else. Until this happens I will continue to boycott MSN.

My 2cents.


 8:17 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well said, mediaman.

What I don't understand about MSN is why they don't go to an AlltheWeb or something to replace Inktomi already. Yahoo now has so much information on MSN searches due to their Inktomi ownership. That has to be worth something to Yahoo.


 8:30 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Any time now there'll be a joining of forces between MSN and Verizon DSL:


Verizon has been conducting an aggressive outsourced telemarketing campaign for several months to their existing dialup customers to get them to upgrade to the DSL service.

MSN/Verizon will be directly competing at the ISP level with Yahoo/SBC. Verizon gets regular phone service customers, as does SBC, who bill combined with local phone service bills in a lot of cases, so there's a large share of captive audience there.

It's hard to believe that at least one of them won't be making a major change.

[edited by: Marcia at 8:33 pm (utc) on Feb. 13, 2003]


 8:31 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Same results: Overture -> LS -> Inktomi

The only difference I see is less banners (yet). Expect it to be the same thing once out of the beta.


 8:43 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

It find some other type of documents to in : Other extension! You can find some database if you enter MDB extension. Clean up your web server ;-)


 8:52 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have never been pleased with the SERPs from MSN. There is just too much junk to weed through.

I also love the "More people use MSN Search than any other search service" tagline. What was that saying about "Figures never lie..."?


 4:04 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Where in the world do these descriptions come from? There is a site listed that I redesigned in 2000 that still shows a description from the previous design. (Actually I have overhauled this site twice since the description that currently shows). Three year old descriptions? Go figure...


 4:46 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>More people use MSN Search than any other search service<<

I was surprised with that too. typical marketing spin treating their customers like fools.

The tagline is actually meaningless. How do you define "Search service"? How do you define "use"?

Im sure if you add in all IE users who by default "use" their MSN search even if just for the occassional auto-msn query and add all their partners and maybe internal search they may be able to defend their statement, but it is clearly incorrect if you interpret the "common usage" of such terms in their tagline.

We all know MSN is a popular search service, but trying to imply they are more popular than yahoo or google undermines their credibility further.


 9:57 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Where in the world do these descriptions come from?..."

heh, I noticed that too. I see some sites in our keyword category that have changed numerous times since the description was written. In fact a couple are not even the same type of company any more.


 10:07 am on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would put MSN behind Google and Yahoo (for referrals) nine times out of 10.

Danny Sullivan did some work on the number of search hours on each engine and Google came out well ahead of the others.


 9:52 pm on Feb 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would hope that the beta is some sign that MSN is finally looking at updating/upgrading their search results.

On the other hand, my MSN email is still broken, even after having accumulated over 15 trouble tickets and persuing it for 2 months.
That does not give me a lot of faith.

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