posted by Leah

 

Forgive me, Microsoft, for I have sinned, and this is my confession.

 

Until a few days ago, I mostly used a competitor’s search engine.  As an employee of Microsoft, that’s almost worse than if I tattooed an Apple on my ankle, or named my dog “Firefox”. At lease those wouldn’t actively take business from my company and give it to another.  Even if I prefer the look of another search engine better, find the results more accurate, or just enjoy the way the double o’s roll off my tongue, using a competitor is still a big slap in the face to hard working people of Windows Live Search, who I see in the cafeteria every day.

 

Well, I did finally switch over to Live Search. But not because I matured and realized it was the right thing to do. The truth is, I switched because the improvements they released this week are fan-freaking-tastic.

 

If you haven’t explored it yet – follow these steps:

1. Go to http://search.live.com (through a browser or, of course, the search box at the bottom of Windows Live Messenger)

2. Search for something. I searched for “Buffy” (big surprise)

 

3. Check out the results. Here are the first three things I love:

    • The scroll bar on the top right lets me decide how much content from each result I want to see. I prefer the leftmost setting because the results are clean and easy to read, and usually the site title is enough info for my purpose.
    • The magic scroll bar down the rightside. It’s like the Alice in Wonderland of scroll bars, you can pull that scroll bar down forever, and it’ll keep falling until you’ve seen all the results. No more pages! No more hitting next! So cool. If you scroll past a link that looks interesting just remember a keyword and hit CTRL + F to find it again.
    • The cool tabs (web, image, local, etc) across the top. I can switch between types of searches without starting over.  

 

4. Click the “Images” Tab at the top left Ok, tell me that isn’t cool. Here are three more things I love:

    • Same scrollbar on the top lets me resize the thumbnails
    • Mouseing over images makes them all big so I can actually see which one I want. (Buffy, what terrible outfits they made you wear sometimes!)
    • Clicking an image pulls up the page in which the image was found. The page URL and the Image URL are listed right up at the top, and all the results are still right there for me to look through along the side

5. Click the “Local” Tab. I’m not going to go into all the details of why Live Local’s awesome. There’s so much functionality there, we’d need one of those alice-in-wonderland scroll bars for you to get to the bottom of this post. But go there, poke around, and if any of you find that “Buffy” shows up in your Local search, let me know – I’ll come running.

(To find out more about Live Search – keep an eye on their blog.)