MSN searchers will start to see the first changes and updates to the MSN search engine sometime next month and will experience an MSN powered search later this year, according to comments made by Bill Gates in a media briefing in Sydney, Australia this week.

"In July, the format of the site will change -- and so will the quality of what you get -- and the way it'll look is dramatically improved," Gates said. "It'll be later this year that we actually roll out what's entirely our own back end driving the search".

Gates went on to explain that Microsoft had been researching linguistics for more than ten years in order to gain a better idea of how to "understand" documents and search queries and to match up search results accordingly. Gates claims that Microsoft's new search engine will go beyond the standard of simply indexing and spitting out Web site text by focusing on issues like personalization, semantics and local information.

"[Currently] You're not actually understanding the documents and so some of the false hits you get are almost humorous," he told journalists. "A human would not make those mistakes because a human can understand the document. Say if I want to know if a flight is on time. Generic Web search today is actually terrible for that, but we should be able to look at your query and say hey, that's a flight number and give a response that's basically just a direct answer to the question, not a list of random Web sites."
June 28, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Microsoft Search on the Horizon