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Does the New MSN Search Hold Up?  (View post)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, February 17, 2005
16 years ago

Post your findings here: how does MSN compare to Google and Yahoo for your specific queries?

Rich Hodge [PersonRank 6]

16 years ago #

Nothing very insightful but a real query I was about to do anyway:

nissan open fred couples tee time

All three nailed it with the top result but Yahoo! made you click on the first listing to get the answer (12:15 today) – Google and MSN showed the answer in the snippet. I didn't check the quality of the the rest of the SERPs but was impressed that it was that easy to find. It seems like last year it wasn't as easy to determine a pro golfer starting time. At a quick glance, they all seemed to choose a different mix of sites that had this info.

martin [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Maybe you didn’t spend enough time writing your query. I only needed two attempts, the second being:

coca cola company film “dr. strangelove”

The result you want is the third one down.

btezra [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Bill Gates is still pissed that MS got beat out by Google on the search engine rank, I bet his panties are all in a twist, still!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Martin, the point was that I wanted to see how well MSN fares on a random intuitive query without fine-tuning. Google and Yahoo returned exactly what I was looking for without me adjusting the search. Of course, as I said, this is by no means objective (it was just one query), and I invite everyone to show me their examples.

Anthony Iaffaldano [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Interesting & fun little test...

By the way, for all the flack it gets, the Ask Jeeves engine did a fairly good job with your search. Check it out.

As I'm mourning the inevitable death of the NHL season today, I thought I'd do a topical search and search for "gretzky single season goal scoring record."

(92 goals in '81 – '82 if anybody else out there still cares about hockey)

How'd they stack up in terms of delivering the right answer on the SERP?

* Google – #2
* Yahoo – #8
* MSN – gives the years, but no goal totals
* Jeeves – #1 – but the result is from a wrestling site....

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I didn't include the butler in my test so far... actually, there are some relevant results for "coca cola company quote dr. strangelove": the answer is found in the second snippet.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

FindForward can be used to search all engines at once:

John Norton [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I still like MSN Search because a query for my name (without quotes) gets my site on the front page!

Michael Griffiths [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

I'd caveat this test by saying that Google and has you "trained" to their algorithm, and means of searching.

So a query which will work very well on Google will work ..not quite as well on Yahoo!, and perhaps not at all on MSN. And a query which will work very well on MSN will work adequitely on Yahoo!, and poorly on Google, etc.

Of course, this is a problem for MSN Search – the "cost of adoption", but it be _no_means_ is a good indicator of the quality of the search engine.

That said, I mainly use MSN Search because of the extra answers, especially Encarta. Very useful feature.

Not to mention doing a News search (a la Google News), and then making that into a RSS feed to track how stories change over time is exceptionally useful when you're following an issue.

MSN Search is the only major search engine to support RSS feeds of search results, and it's nice.

Dave Anon [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Yahoo front-page is too bloated?

Well I'm guessing you would go straight to if all you want to do is searching...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Michael, I agree we may be all just trained to use Google so much we adopted its style. That's what I meant when in my original post I said "It looks like MSN is missing something obvious, or it may be they just require a different kind of user."
It could be MSN works less well with any "stream of consciousness multiple keywords let's just type along using no quotes or operators" kind of "lazy user" style, but that they would work better with, say, power users.

Marten Hofstede [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

For comparing search engines to each other, maybe it would be better to introduce some rules of play for evaluating them. One of them could be: How many irrelevant hits does a search engine offer in a page of say 20 results (it's easier to assess that something is irrelevant than that it is relevant). Another rule could be that the evaluation is done based on the snippets; in my view the way a search engine handles snippets is a highly important part of its performance. The way of the Web is to scan a page of not to many hits looking for a possible answer (which then can be verified by clicking on a hit).

What strikes me in Mr Lenssens example is that MSN misses the phrase in Coca Cola Company. Since this is part of the quote, the number of irrelevant hits in both Mr. Lenssen's and Mr. Martin's phrasing of the query is higher than with MSN's competitors.
Incidentally, both the terms quote and film are superfluous in this query, film more so than quote.

George R [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Try the search with .

The second result yields the Dr. Strangelove quote.
The first result is even more relevant.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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