Switching to Live Search


Steve Ballmer issued a challenge to MVPs a couple weeks ago, asking them to switch to Live Search this week and give it a chance. So I did, moving the defaults on all my browsers (IE, Firefox, and Chrome) to Live this morning. 

I've been critical of Live over the last few years, but I've given it a chance. A couple times a year someone will post that they're using it and for a couple days I'll run some double searches. I'll use Google, Yahoo, and Live and compare the results.

And Google usually wins. It returns what I consider more relevant searches.

Now I'm not a power searcher. I tend to use a few terms, and none of the quotes, !, ~, NOT, and other power searching expressions. If I don't get results on the first page, I might hit the second, but not much more. Using that technique, I used to never get the things I wanted on the first page from Live, but I did from Google or Yahoo. And Google is cleaner, less stuff, so I've tended to use it.

That being said, the last time I tried Live, this past summer, it was pretty close. For example, when I search for somethng like sp_change_users_login, I tend to want BOL to come up first. It always has on Google (first page at least) and on Yahoo, but on Live I often had lots of MSDN blogs and things and not the source for reference. That seemed to change earlier this year and Live was better.

I'm not sure how well this will work, but I'm willing to give it a try. I've been a Microsoft software user for most of my career and it just works. So I'll take the challenge and see if it impacts my work.

But I'm not likely to switch permantently. Not because I love Google, or dislike Live, but I think MS has a fairly large monopoly on lots of software. I like competition and I want to see alternatives. I buy books from Amazon and  Barnes and Noble because I want both to succeed. I want both around for a long time, even if B&N becomes a place I can download books to my Kindle.

I think Google is as likely to make monopoly mistakes as MS, and so I want Live to continue to be used, but I don't want it to dominate like IE did for awhile. Maybe I'm overthinking this as we now have choices (Firefox and Chrome), but I like doing my part to balance thinges in the universe.