Microsoft has announced that their search engine, Live Search, has moved out of beta along with their Live Local Search mapping service. I am still trying to wrap my head around why they went with the “Live” brand. I don’t know what it means. Live as in real-time? Live as in not-dead? I think we can assume that. Otherwise out there somewhere we’d have “Zombie Search”, a full-text search engine that for any query returns the answer “BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAAAAAIIIINNNNSSSSS…”
Ahem. The Live search is available at http://www.live.com/ , natch, and at the moment offers several search tabs including images, news, and “local”, which is the mapping service. There’s also a new Q&A service, which is short for another Answers service. I think I like this one better than Yahoo Answers, but not as well as Google Answers or Ask Metafilter. I found the Live news search a little annoying; in my tests I found two-year-old content indexed with timestamps of a week ago.
Strangely enough, the stuff I liked at Live.com was on the “More” tab of the search results page. The feeds search was pretty good, though I’d appreciate it if there were a plain link to the RSS feed of a site (instead of an “Add to Live.com” link only.) The Academic search, which provides search results from both free and paid-access content, has extensive results in an interesting format (result list on the left, mouseover interesting ones to see additional details like abstract, journal name, authors, publisher, etc. There’s also an intriguing “Search Macro” offering which allows you to create your own search engine, either by creating uber-queries or by specifying up to thirty sites for Live.com to search (ONLY 30??!! PLBBBTT!) So why’d they shove all the interesting stuff in the More tab?
If you’d like to keep up with the changes and updates to the new Live search, you can visit the blog at http://livesearch.spaces.live.com/feed.rss . There’s also a blog for the Local Search mapping service at http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/ (take a few minutes and read that blog — this is a developer team which is feeling its collective Cheerios.)