Nov. 25,  ISSUE #78
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MSN recently debuted the beta version of its new MSN Search service, designed to reduce the time and effort required by internet users to find information online by offering one of the largest, most up-to-date selections of information and a new class of powerful, customizable search tools. Some claim this was an effort to take the fame (and market share) from dominant search players Google and Yahoo! as Microsoft did many years ago with Internet Explorer beating down Netscape.



However, according to a recent New York Times article, Adam Sohn, director of sales and marketing for MSN said the new MSN search engine was designed to simply delight its own customers. A recent CNET report also confirms the threat to Google and Yahoo! that this new search engine creates.

The global beta version of MSN Search was made available for public use on Thursday, November 11, at http://beta.search.msn.com. While still testing this search service, MSN will not yet replace Yahoo! Search technology from its publicly available search until sometime in 2005 some reports claim.

New and innovative features in MSN Search provide an enhanced search experience by providing relevant answers to direct questions such as What is the second-longest coastline in the world? within the search results. In addition, the Search Near Mefeature automatically provides information and resources that are close to home, dramatically reducing the time needed to find geographically relevant information and eliminating the need to sift through thousands of links. Searching for news, images or music is fully integrated into the new, streamlined search experience.

The release of our beta is a huge step toward delivering the information consumers are looking for online, faster than previous versions of MSN Search, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform division at Microsoft Corp. “With better results and more powerful search tools, MSN Search is creating a new, higher standard for online search one that helps consumers find the information they need, when they need it.

At the heart of the new MSN Search is an advanced search engine, built over the past two years on Microsoft technology, which dramatically improves search results. Microsoft designed MSN Search to overcome the one-size-fits-all approach offered by other search engines. Pull-down menus and other customization tools built into MSN Search allow consumers to control and refine their searches in the following ways:



Search Near Me
. Consumers can receive search results tailored to a geographic location. A consumer in Portland, Maine, who needs to know the location of the nearest local fire station no longer needs to sift through online listings for Portland, Ore. This is accomplished by assigning geographical information to Webpages as they are indexed by the service.

Search Builder. MSN Search users can customize search results by emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain search criteria, such as specific sites or domains, countries, regions, or languages. Consumers who want to apply specific criteria to their searches can visit a menu of adjustable on-screen dials for each criterion. The dials can be reset when consumers’ criteria change.

A complete version of MSN Search is slated to launch early next year. Test the new MSN Search Engine for yourself at http://beta.search.msn.com.


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