At first, Microsoft plans to use its new technology only for Internet searches based on relevance, replacing Inktomi, now owned by rival Yahoo! Inc. Microsoft will continue to work with Overture Services, another Yahoo subsidiary, for the paid listings that run alongside regular search results.
Other technologies being developed include BlogBot, to search Web journals, and AnswerBot to better answer questions posed in plain English.
Eventually, Gurry said, Microsoft hopes to make search more personalized. For example, the search engine would use past behavior to guess whether a user who types in "saturn" is looking for the planet or the car.
Microsoft also says that search will be a key component of its next version of Windows, dubbed Longhorn, which isn't expected until at least 2006.