In a blog appropriately titled, "Relevance, Relevance, Relevance", the official blog of the Live Search team at Microsoft has concisely documented the transformation and improvement of Microsoft Live Search.
"This tour guide (their own words) includes:
- Improved core relevance: Core relevance is a hard thing to quantify or qualify. I think of it as those real searches you do day in and day out. When people do fancy demos they use searches like Britney SpearsĂ˘â‚¬Â¦which is an important search, but doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t really reflect some of the tough things the engine sees every day. I was trying to think of a good example of this and just as I was writing, bam, a bunch of us decided to head to our favorite spot for lunch: the Microsoft taco truck. I was kind of curious what would come up for Microsoft taco truck. Sure enough, Live Search has good stuff. The chowhound.com result in particular has some great commentary which talks about the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“secretĂ˘â‚¬Âť location in the VFW parking lot. If youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re ever in the area, I highly recommend it.
This is core relevance.
- Reduced spam: Spam is an arms race. A game of cat and mouse. WeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re always going to be fighting people who threaten the integrity of our results by using illegitimate or malicious techniques. With this release of Live Search you should find the amount of spam is down quite considerably. You might ask how we know spam is down? Experts on our team take a Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“randomly selected and statistically significantĂ˘â‚¬Âť set of searches and measure the percentage of spam in the results. With this release that number is down in a non-trivial manner and we are excited about that.
- Dramatically improved "snippets": One of the areas of search that does not get a lot of attention (but is incredibly important) are those little snippets of text or Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“summariesĂ˘â‚¬Âť for each result that describe the site youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re about to visit. Let me give you a flavor of some of our improvements in this area:
- FBI: Notice we expand the acronym (to "Federal Bureau of Investigation") and highlight it in the descriptions.
- Microsoft: Navigational links indented in the first result help you find what you are looking for quickly.
We are now searching 20 billion Web pages. This is 4 times the size of our previous index. Enough said. Also, Microsoft now has the infrastructure to easily add billions (yes, billions) more with relative ease. This ensures we are always pushing the envelope with regard to the amount of human knowledge in our index.
Finally, Last, but not least, we want users to be able to search in the manner they feel most comfortable. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s our job to be doing the smart thing to figure out what people really mean. HereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s an example search from a real user: nw coed soccer. Previously we did not take into account that NW and Northwest are equivalents.
Article available in MSDN.