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Images: Life without Google: The Live Search substitute

Despite low expectations for Microsoft's Live Search the search engine is a worthy competitor.
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Topic: Google
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1 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

I went into the Windows Live experiment with negative vibes. When it comes to search Microsoft is portrayed as a whipping boy. And the market share stats don't lie. But life without Google means working with Windows Live Search. The Windows Live Search opening screen didn't do much to change my perception. Can I at least do a search before being pestered set Live Search as a default search provider? Overall though, Windows Live Search grew on me.

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2 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

I was shocked to find that Live Search didn't correct my spelling. Google usually gives me the "Did you mean?" line. After all, Microsoft Word does it all the time. Live Search pages just delivered the goods. The related searches in the upper right were a nice touch. Sponsored links didn't seem overbearing--an increasing issue with Google.

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3 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

I found the image search handy and scratchpad was also useful.

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4 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet
Windows Live Search solicits feedback in multiple places. With this feedback form, Microsoft seems to be looking to improve.
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5 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

In many respects, Microsoft's search effort builds off of other efforts. Live QnA Beta is basically a clone of Yahoo Answers without the success.

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6 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

Here's where the tide started to turn with Live Search. The user interface between content types--images, Web, maps and news--was integrated well. Where Ask seemed choppy at times Live Search seemed smooth to the eye and in the results. Regarding Maps I could have done without the Redmond, Washington default.

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7 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

A search on Ben Bernanke yields timely results and more interesting alternative searches to consider. The search also remembers where you've been. Notice how the QnA Beta is in the nav.

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8 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

Bernanke video search highlights results from partners, notably CNBC. That's to be expected to a degree as is the Windows Media format.

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9 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

When I searched on Artie Lange trying to find his Letterman appearance June 6 and YouTube results were prominent. The Windows Live results, however, weren't up to date. I found Lange's appearance on YouTube. Also not sure why Sanjaya Malakar is on top.

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10 of 10 Larry Dignan/ZDNet

Macros enable you to customize Live Search. Overall, I found Live Search to be pretty handy despite my negative attitude going in. Live Search seems to be much maligned, but is a contender. With its Vista integration it may gain share in the future.

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