Last week Steve Ballmer had issued a challenge to MVPs to have them try Live Search instead of their regular search engine if they weren’t using Live. Primarily I’ve used Google over the years, though I periodically have compared Live and Yahoo to Google to see how things work.
So why did I switch back?
The main one is that Live isn’t better than Google. When I used it last week, it worked, meaning I got work done and I could usually find a good result on the first page. That hasn’t always been the case, and it was good to see that happening.
As I was using it yesterday, trying to look up a couple businesses, I noticed something. Here’s a shot of Live when looking for a business:
And here is one from Google:
If you notice, Google and Live have the same results listed with the companies at the top, however Google gives me a little map to help me determine which one is most useful. If I click on the “directions” link, I get the more detailed map, the address, phone, link to the site, and directions links.
If I click on the Live link, I get similar information, but a much less detailed map, so I have to zoom to be sure that it’s the right one, though they have directions from major intersections available at 1-click. Arguably that’s better for some people, but for me I usually like confirming the address, and the Google map on the first page helps.
There are things that I see Live trying, like showing MapQuest as one of the links, but the overall impression is too much, irrelevant information on the page.
When searching for a few other things that I noticed as well. When I had to search last week for “sysdepends” one of the tables in SQL Server, the most relevant link returned on Google was for Books Online, which is what I was looking for. This link was on the first page of the Live results, but it was #6, and I had to scroll to see it.
The other thing is that Google caches results, so if a site is having issues, or want to see the HTML version of a PDF, I can get it with one click on Google. Live seems to have cached pages, but not for quite a few things I searched for.
Lastly, when I searched for “oracle performance on Hyper-V”, looking for a PDF that I saw, neither engine returned it though that was likely my poor choice of terms. However Live had a “Buy Hyper" link from e-bay, which is totally irrelevant. I think Microsoft took too much money from ebay to get links up there when they aren’t helping much of the time.
If they want to get me to switch, one thing they could do is give me a check box next to the search button that says “I’m not buying something” and let me search for things without getting too much retail crap in the way when I really just want to get some information.