Microsoft Launches Windows Live Search

CNET reports on Microsoft’s launch of Windows Live Search, which offers an improved user interface and more search features.

Live Search lets users hunt for news, images, video, blogs and RSS feeds through one search portal. The new features are intended to help simplify Internet searches, like the scoping bar on the top of the page that keeps the information from a previous search so the next search is done in the context of the first.

Microsoft is taking a leaf out of the Ask.com book, by adding “related searches” to the right side of the screen. The feature utilizes the previous queries and results of other who performed the same search request.

The service is supposed to be out of beta, yet all of my search results came from beta.search.live.com. Strange.

Please take a moment today to…

…remember those who lost their lives
…give thanks to those who risked their lives to help others
…and say a prayer for the families who lost a loved one that day

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Google Recommendations for Personalized Homepages

Google has launched a new module for its personalized homepage users.

The module called “Interesting things for you” features searches, web pages, and gadgets. The searches were previously available in Search History Trends and included the top gaining queries related to your searches. So the recommended items have two qualities: they are popular and related to your searches.

Over at SEW, Phil Bradley offers his initial thoughts on the accuracy and usefulness of the suggestions.

Business Buying Decisions Influenced by Blogs

MarketingVOX breaks-down new details of a study conducted by KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann on how blogs influence B2B purchasing decisions.

…more than 53 percent of respondents saying the content they read in blogs has an impact on their work-related purchasing decisions. Some 80 percent of respondents say they read blogs, with 51 saying they read them at least once a week.

The study also reveals a large majority of respondents get their news and information via blogs. So while regular consumers may not have fully embraced blogs as an alternative to mainstream media, business and IT professionals certainly have.

Can Lycos Find New Model for Success?

You know a search engine is in trouble when Danny Sullivan declares “I frankly stopped caring about it two years ago”.

That’s the not-so-kind tag given to former search giant, Lycos. The company has certainly falling very far from favor – it’s value dropping from $12.5 billion in 2000 to $105 million in 2004 – but, with a new CEO, the company hopes to re-brand itself as video content provider.

As CNET reports

Lycos is set to debut a new Web application in the fall, though [CEO] Tolle is only saying it will combine aspects of film downloads and distribution with community and social networking. That sounds like a mish-mash of social networking leader MySpace.com and hot video-uploading site YouTube, along with DVD home delivery firm Netflix.

Ask.com Announces R&D Center in Germany

Ask.com is expanding it’s European footprint with news that they creating a research and development center in Hamburg, Germany.

“The expansion of our European research and development team will allow Ask.com to continue to develop and scale our world-class search,” said Apostolos Gerasoulis, executive vice president of search technology at Ask.com.

The company also announced the appointment of Eric Heymann as director of global content acquisition for Ask.com and head of the Hamburg team.

A Search Engine For Tracking Federal Spending

AP is reporting growing support for the creation of a Google-like search engine for tracking federal goverment spending.

A far-flung coalition of groups across the political spectrum supports the idea and their efforts were rewarded Thursday as the Senate passed a bill to build a Google-like search engine to allow people to track online approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans.

Why not just ask Google to do it for them? It’s not like we need to worry about privacy issues, Google already knows more than the government anyway! ;-)