Live.com recently did a small overhaul of it’s search with a resounding “Who Cares?” as a result. The most obvious cosmetic change is sponsored results at the top of the results list. Hey Live.com, advertising is not a feature. I want high quality results for my search – whatever else you throw in doesn’t matter to me. Updates to Entertainment, Health, Local and Shopping, which apparently account for 40% of all Live.com searches may have changed the result sets, but they don’t change the fact that Live.com search results still suck. Where’s the “Did you mean?” feature that corrects my spelling when I fat finger the keyboard? Why aren’t Judy’s Book, Angie’s Book, and Yelp all weighted heavily in restaurant searches in local?
Possibly the best example of this comes in Brandon’s comparison of local results for his new favorite Thai restaurant, Tee Nee Thai. Both Google and Live.com pull up Yelp reviews near the top of the list, but Live.com quickly degenerates into porn links (which are not based in Santa Clara, CA where the restaurant is located). I understand advertising is a necessary evil of the search business – I make a good living via advertising. That doesn’t mean it should be the only noticeable change when you roll out new search features. The number of people who work for Microsoft and use Google for search should be telling. Buy Ask.com, take Brandon’s suggestion to create a Google Custom Search engine as the new Live.com, or pack it in and go home because Live.com has never been a great search tool.