Microsoft’s Google-killer arrives with a ‘whuh?’

Google’s executives might be sleeping a little easier this weekend after Microsoft unveiled its much-hyped new search engine. It’s fast, slick, and comes with a raft of interesting new features: confounding some expectations as surely as it confirms others. In short, Microsoft has produced a search engine that’s better in almost every way than Google, except for one: its search results are terrible. But let’s start with the good stuff.
Incredibly, MSN Beta Search trumps Google for speed: it’s an order of magnitude faster. Anyone who doubted that Microsoft could deliver a large scale distributed cluster, and that’s probably most of you, will be surprised at the nippy performance (although the true test comes when the system has to scale under heavy loads, of course).
Microsoft has also made building complicated queries much more attractive than its rivals. Click on the “Search Builder” option and you get five additional fields which you can add, one at a time, the fifth being three gauges for altering the search term’s topicality, popularity, and semantic accuracy. This puts all its rivals to shame, and makes Google’s Advanced Search page look about as appealing as an Assembly Language manual. Microsoft’s new engine also has a rough caching service modeled on Google’s cache, but without the keywords highlighted in colors: one of Google’s most subtle and indelibly useful UI features.
Microsoft’s Google-killer arrives with a ‘whuh?’ | The Register