|Microsoft introduces revamped news search service|
Seattle Times story [seattletimes.nwsource.com]...
Thursday, April 17, 2008
|Microsoft introduces revamped news search service |
Microsoft launched an overhauled news search service this week that brings together stories, photos and video from around the world.
It's another step in the company's effort to improve its Internet search service and catch the runaway leader, Google. Google News was introduced in test form in 2002....
Quick comparison shows both MSN and Google with roughly the same categories... Google using "Elections" instead of MSN's "Politics"... MSN offering "Local"... and Google breaking out "Health" and "Most Popular" which MSN does not.
MSN Live News categories:
Top Stories ¦ World ¦ U.S. ¦ Local ¦ Business ¦ Politics ¦ Entertainment ¦ Sports ¦ Sci/Tech Health
Top Stories ¦ World ¦ U.S. ¦ Business ¦ Elections ¦ Sci/Tech ¦ Entertainment ¦ Sports ¦ Health ¦ Most Popular
IMO, Google's "Top Story" news homepage is much more like a big city newspaper than is MSN's page. Google allows you to take in a range of stories at a glance, and also clusters top stories by category for easy browsing. MSN curiously doesn't do this, except for a column of "California news," in my case, in the right hand column. Microsoft's default headline font size is also curiously large, and the general effect is that it's hard to find clustered areas of interest.
On the other hand, once you do jump to a Microsoft category page, the stories seem to be better selected for reader attraction (more sensational headlines), as if there were perhaps manual intervention. The stories do change frequently, though, suggesting that manual intervention might be difficult. Unlike Google, MSN doesn't currently provide links to other variants of the stories, or provide different sorting criteria for what you see.
This all based on a fairly quick look. I'm assuming I'm seeing the revised service. Not clear that I am.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:23 pm (utc) on April 17, 2008]
Is there an alert option available with this feature?
Also, I seem to have problem reaching some of their option under the More links. For instance, the Academic and Book option yield errors and the Feed option shows essentially a blank page.
They have a lot more work to do. A test of three smaller news markets, comparing MS and G reveals that G finds the local and secondary news sources where MS mostly feeds news releases.
For example, a search on "Richmond, VA" and "Nashville, Tenn." on MS shows zero results from the daily papers there. G, of course, does a fair to good job.
I don't get it: in Canada, all I see is 2 columns with links:
Top News Topics
* Nfl network
* American idol news
* American axle
* David cook
* Grande fratello
* American idol
Popular News Queries
* Chicago cougar shot
* Miss usa crystle stewart
* Drive-in fitting room
* J.k. rowling
No text snippet, no images, and I especially fail to see how the supposed Top Stories are in fact top stories.
Is this an April's fool joke, because it is 18 days late.
I have the feeling that I could write a better news search engine than MS.
Clearly, it is being rolled out on an IP basis.
I'm tending to view it as a work in progress... though perhaps one that's been rolled out way too early.
The "Local" results, eg, are noticeably untargeted. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area (in California). Though it might make sense to serve me up a sidebar of "California news" (the same stories that are displayed in the Local section), there are in fact no top state stories included... only Los Angeles local stories, drawn entirely from the LA Times.
It makes no sense, eg, for them to think that I'm going to be interested in the Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park, local LA political gossip, or a beach closure in Laguna Beach.
The most notable feature on the Top Stories page, IMO, are the video thumbnail windows (115 px wide.. larger than normal for thumbnails), which start playing when you mouse over them... no click required. They don't resume from where you left off if you move your cursor, though. For that feature, you need to click and open the player.
Results are still very poor despite using their webmastertools and massive crawling.
So nothing new at this end.