Dumping Google and Yahoo for Microsoft Live Search

I am generally skeptical of Microsoft’s Franco-Soviet development process. Nonetheless, I have been using a number of common Microsoft programs, such as

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Wordpad

because they work better than competitors. Yet when competitors are required for certain jobs — such as Jedit for editing programs or Google Talk for online message logging — I use those as well.

With that in mind, I have now modified Firefox to use Microsoft Windows Live Search instead of Google. The moment of truth came when I was searching for my article on Citi MasterCard’s reward cuts. Of the top five Windows Live searches, four bring you to my page. Further, the very top result is exactly the one I’m looking for. However, on google there are only four results, and while three will take you there, none are a direct page link.

(I also found through my experiment that spammer sites are now using “tdaxp” as a junk keyword. Before I started this blog, the only pages that contained “tdaxp” were the raw output of some statistical program. So I guess that’s a move up in the world, heh).

I’ve already noticed this with my evolutionary politics notes, with google typically taking you to the category main page while Windows Live Search brings visitors to the actual post.

I began using google back in the google.stanford.edu era. From then to now, I have never had another primary search engine, or recommend that anyone else do so. Now I can say this: I use Windows Live Search. You should, too.

I have installed Stuart Marshall’s Windows Live Engine for Mozilla Firefox, and have changed Firefox’s default behavior by making Windows Live my default search engine (a now removed copy of Yahoo Messenger sneakily changed this behavior and refused to change it back).

I will still use Google apps as they are useful — Google Talk, Goolge Scholar, and GMail especially — but Google Search is no longer the best in the business. Windows Live Search is.

Update: The side search box has been updated to use Windows Live instead of Google. It now looks like thing like:

Additionally, in both Google and Live Search, my friend Mike’s blog “Spooky Action is the 2nd result. Let’s change that, and make Spooky Action #1!

9 thoughts on “Dumping Google and Yahoo for Microsoft Live Search”

  1. great day in the morning! now this is news! is it possible that Micro$oft could produce better products than Google?! i will have to look into this!

  2. I'll take your recommendation based on your stellar track record, but I'm still number 2 for “spooky action”. Drat!

    Thanks for the tip, Dan!

  3. So, whether or not your own site ranks higher in results is your test for validity?

    In that case, I am going to create a search engine that returns your website no matter the search query. Then you can tout it here 🙂

  4. Aaron,

    That would undoubtably solve a lot of personal issues for me, but it's not exactly what I was after. The two sites that outrank me at Google and MS are very different in nature. With Google it's an article by physics professor Gary Felder. With MS, it's the home page for the Spooky Action theater. Each of them appears at about #5 when the other is the first entry.

    I'm just doing my Rodney Dangerfield routine!


  5. Catholicgauze — Ask.com is an odd duck! [1] [2]

    Sean — yup… and on the same day that Google made an upgrade, too. [3] Still, if Google is preparing a “Pearl Habor” for Microsoft [4], I hope it succeeds. Whether Microsoft or Google wins doesn't matter so much. Whether consumers — and openness — wins matters a great deal.

    Mike — we'll do our best to move Spooky Action [5] up to #1

    Aaron — For an example of the difference in behavior for the search engines, take the search “are americans hyperactive neanderthals? site:tdaxp.com” Live search [6] brings you to the right page [7] immediately, while Google takes you to the bloated category page. [8] Live saves me time and effort: I like it!

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/08/10/ask-com-s-asymmetric-strategy-attack-bloggers-butters-up-mag.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/20/ask-com-blacklists-catholicgauze.html
    [3] http://seanmeade.blogspot.com/2006/09/catching-up.html
    [4] http://platformwars.blogspot.com/2006/03/writely-microsofts-pearl-harbor.html
    [5] http://spookyaction.blogspot.com/
    [6] http://beta.search.live.com/results.aspx?q=are+americans+hyperactive+neanderthals%3F+site%3Atdaxp.com&sourceid=Mozilla-search
    [7] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/08/20/are-americans-hyperactive-neanderthals.html
    [8] http://www.google.com/search?q=are+americans+hyperactive+neanderthals%3F+site%3Atdaxp.com&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

  6. No doubt more sites on the internets point to your categories page. While this may not be the behaviour you desire in this special case ( do many non-blog sites have a page of links to all their pages? ) I'd much rather get my #1 result as the one more people have linked to, rather than the one that “feels” like the right answer.

    I would have a hard time judging either technically superior. I suppose it just comes down to taste. Again, you prefer to avoid mental exhaustion ( ala iTunes giant folder of unorganized chaos ) whereas I prefer structure to my searching.

    Now, if only Live or Google would figure out that they should hash search results so they don't return 800 asshole college students posting the entire contents of the UNIX 'man' pages on their website, then everyone will be happy.

  7. Aaron — I don't believe many other sites link to categories. Technocrati [1], for instance, typically reports links to story pages. I imagine that Google has to see the category pages as “experts,” as they are linked to by so many pages on the blog, while the story pages are plagiarists (because they “copy” a significant amount from the category pages).

    It's not quite an issue of taste — story pages are often not included at all by google — but both engines do return their results in a quick and speedy matter. I have to give them both that. (Having once written a site search engine, I'm astounded by what these companies can do.)

    I absolutely agree with your comments on the plagiarized man pages. These are indexed, but not tdaxp story pages? Incredible!

    PS: All the cool kids are using iTunes with Cover Flip

    [1] http://www.technorati.com/search/http://www.tdaxp.com
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/09/13/short-review-of-itunes-7-with-cover-flow.html

  8. Mike,

    I'm glad I converted you — Microsoft does indeed make good things!

    I also like the functionality of Live Image Search [2] better than Google Image search, as well.

    Google's Gmail still tops Hotmail, and Google Scholar [3] still beats Live academic search, but MS is giving the goog a run for its money

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/02/05/acquiring_network_address.html#c1165973
    [2] http://search.live.com/images/results.aspx?q=tdaxp&mkt=en-us
    [3] http://scholar.google.com/

  9. I agree that Gmail rules today (I've got hotmail and yahoo mail, too.). In fact, there is no comparison. Thankfully, my academic days are behind me, so I can't comment on the Scholar piece. The other tool I use all the time is mapping. Again, I think Google is superior, but Yahoo has its fans (my wife swears by their directions).

    I must confess that my initial exclamation of conversion was based on the fact that I am now the top 'Spooky Action' search result. Mea culpa! (sort of)

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