MSN finally unleashed its new search technology to world on Monday. The official announcement coming from Bill Gates introduced New MSN Search engine, ending with a personal invitation to visit www.msn.com and “type in your question.”
Here at WebAdvantage.net, we consider ourselves to be veteran internet searchers, often able to easily find information we're after. Considering we spend all day every day online, we should be. Even so, we rarely venture to type search queries in form of questions on search engines, except for handful of times we visit AskJeeves.
The thought of being invited to type in a question at MSN's new search engine intrigued us. We decided to follow trail of links to learn more about what they were offering. We were, at first, impressed with pages singing praises of new "more precise, more powerful" MSN Search service. We were impressed, that is, until around page five of "learn more" series of MSN's site pages. That's when we started to get tired of clicking "next."
Turns out there were ten pages devoted to learning more about what MSN Search offers (which perhaps could have been explained less painfully). But at WebAdvantage.net, we're dedicated online marketing professionals, so we hung in there.
We were informed that MSN's search results would now be drawn from their encyclopedia, MSN Encarta, enabling it to function effectively as a reference tool for finding things like definitions, conversions, geographic capitals and historical events. And that it could also now perform news and image searches and would draw music related results from its own MSN Music, placing artist information and sample song clips at top of any music related search results.
MSN was also offering search functions for your own desktop or Outlook email (if you're so inclined to download those). Throughout "learn more" pages, they gave search examples. The first search examples given were in form of questions; questions with specific answers like "Who is LeBron James?" and "What is mass of Jupiter?"
MSN Search, they said, would give you more control over your searches, with filters to refine and a "near me" button to instantly localize results. Sounded good and well, but we were still more intrigued with that initial invitation to "visit and type in your question."
So we tried it. We visited MSN Search and decided to use one of their examples, typing in question, "What is mass of Jupiter?" To our shock and pleasure, there it was--an answer, right at top and separated from actual web results. It said, "Answer: Jupiter: mass: 318 Earth Masses."