Thursday, March 8, 2007

Microsoft Bet on Better Search

In the search engine world, every company is trying to find out ways to overcome Google's supremacy on Search. Microsoft, in the same trend, has announced two new tools namely "Mix" and "Web Assistant" claiming to provide more relevant and organized search results. In the event called "Techfest", Microsoft demonstrated these new tools.

The primary focus is to get the search results better organized and make them easy to share. According to Lili Cheng, Mix will be released in the next six to nine months and will allow web surfers to organize and share the search results easily.

Web Assistant, the other tool is intended to improve the relevance of search results and help resolve ambiguities. Among other things, the results can be refined based on records of earlier searches by thousands of others and the ways those users changed search terms when they did not get the results they were seeking.

Susan Dumais, a veteran Microsoft search expert, has built a tool to help determine relevance called Personalized Search. It pulls together several hundred results and then compares them with the index that Windows users can build of the documents on their hard drives, a feature called Desktop Search.

She demonstrated the effectiveness of the program by searching for Michael Jordan. By culling through local information on her hard drive, the program was able to discern that she was interested in finding the Michael Jordan who is the machine-learning expert at the University of California, Berkeley, not the basketball player.

So far, Microsoft has not been able to gain ground against the Search Supremo Google. Let's see how these products will help them gain more users in this arena.

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