By now, many of you will have found that search.msn.com has mysteriously disappeared and been replaced by live.com.
So what is live?
Windows Live is the collective brand name for a group of Microsoft services which are currently under development. Being partly rebranded from MSNâ€”the new, consolidated online services are Microsoft’s latest effort to compete against fast-growing competitors such as Google. Generally these services are accessed via a web browser, and the data required to run them (along with data the user may input to the service) is stored on a remote server rather than on a local computer….
Live.com – An all-in-one home page featuring a customisable RSS aggregator, gadgets and a new and improved search tool
I am a very large distance away from making any authoratative views on Microsoft’s new offerings, but I wanted to outline my initial thoughts and see if my readers have any of their own.
(1) What the hell happened to local search?
The main reason I used to visit http://search.xtramsn.co.nz/ was for what I considered to be a superior local NZ search tool to google.co.nz. Now I don’t know how to do this. You dropped the ball guys.
(2) It didn’t even work from home
The other night I was checking out a hit the site had received from the live.com image search. The page loaded so many thumbnails, and the display system was apparently so bandwidth hungry that it actually broke my browser. I was unable to load the page, and left it till the next day at work (they have a much chunkier connection).
It’s probably understandable to develop technology for the top 5% of technology users, but the reality is that there will be millions of users surfing on dial-up for years to come. They will steer clear of live image search.
(3) When it works it’s pretty cool
Today I was searching for images of the awesome Toshiba 72″ DLP Rear Projection TV. Armed with the superior work connection I was able to browse live images smoothly and effectively. The interface worked as it was supposed to.
You felt like you were running a normal application, not browsing a website. While this may be criticised, I think it’s all good. Developers have had pretty much free reign to develop apps for the optimum user interface, so we should expect that non-web apps should be easier to use. Web developers have been historically constrained by their technology, so although we’re used to it, conventional web design should be deficient when compared to non-web design.
Has anyone else used it? What are your thoughts?