Live Search

Live Search
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Search Engine
Owner Microsoft
Created by Microsoft
Launched March 8, 2006 (beta)
September 11, 2006 (1.0)
September 26, 2007 (2.0)
Current status of site Active

Live Search (formerly Windows Live Search and MSN Search) is the name of Microsoft's web search engine, designed to compete with industry leaders Google and Yahoo! Live Search is accessible through Microsoft's and web portals. Currently, Live Search is the fourth most used search engine after Google, Baidu (China), and Yahoo![1]

The search engine offers some innovative features, such as the ability to view additional search results on the same web page (instead of needing to click through to subsequent search result pages) and the ability to dynamically adjust the amount of information displayed for each search-result (such as just the title, a short summary, or a longer summary). It also allows the user to save searches and see them updated automatically on


Live Search is one service among many such web based services, such as Instant Messenger, Blog, Email, file sharing, and others. While dozens of search engines retired from highly competitive search engine market over the decades, Live Search seems to maintain its popularity due to Microsoft's continuous progress in technology and market strategies.


MSN Search

MSN Search was a search engine by Microsoft that included a search engine, index, and web crawler. As of September 12, 2006, MSN Search is now Live Search. Live Search offers users the ability to search for specific types of information using search tabs that include Web, news, images, music, desktop, local, and Microsoft Encarta. MSN Search aims to make its over 2.5 billion worldwide queries each month "more useful by providing consumers with improved access to information and more precise answers to their questions." A configuration menu is available to change the default search engine in Internet Explorer, but the selection is sometimes criticized as being limited, and a custom URL cannot be entered without installing an add-on.

MSN Search was first launched in the fall of 1998 using search results from Inktomi. In early 1999, MSN Search launched a version which displayed listings from Looksmart blended with results from Inktomi except for a short time in 1999 when results from AltaVista were used instead. Since then Microsoft upgraded MSN Search to provide its own Microsoft-built search engine results (list of web addresses with samples of content that meet a user's query), the index of which is updated weekly or even daily. The upgrade started as a beta program in November 2004 (based on several years of research), and came out of beta in February 2005. Image search was powered by a third party, Picsearch. The service also started providing its search results to other search engine portals in an effort to better compete in the market.

Live Search

The first public beta of Live Search was unveiled on March 8, 2006, with the final release on September 11, 2006, replacing MSN Search.

On March 21, 2007, it was announced that Microsoft would separate its Live Search developments from the Windows Live services family. Live Search was integrated into the Live Search and Ad Platform headed by Satya Nadella, part of Microsoft's Platform and Systems division. As part of this change, Live Search was consolidated with Microsoft adCenter.[2]

In the roll-over from MSN Search to Live Search, Microsoft stopped using Picsearch as their image search provider and started performing their own image search, fueled by their own internal image search algorithms.[3]

Search products

In addition to its tool for searching webpages, Live Search also provides services for searching:

Service Website Description
Academic Live Search Academic searches for academic journals and published papers.
This service has been discontinued and integrated into regular web search.
Books Live Search Books searches for written content that has been made available on the Internet.
This service has been discontinued and integrated into regular web search.
Classifieds Windows Live Expo lets users to search for classifieds from an online social marketplace featuring user-created adverts.
This service has been discontinued.
Farecast Live Search Farecast searches for airfare and hotel reservations online and predicts when is the best time to purchase them
Feeds Live Search Feeds searches for RSS feeds based on the user's search query.
Health Live Search Health refine health searches using related medical concepts to get relevant health information and allow users navigate complex medical topics with inline article results from experts.
Images Live Search Images enables the user to quickly search and display most relevant photos and images of interest. The infinite scroll feature allows browsing a large number of images quickly. The advance filters allows refining search results in terms of properties such as image size, aspect ratio, color or black and white, photo or illustration, and facial features recognition.
Local Live Search Local searches local business listings with business details and reviews, allowing users to make more informed decisions
Macros Live Search Macros allows consumers to create their own custom search engines or use customizations created by other users who share their interests to make their searches more relevant
Maps Live Search Maps enables the user to search for businesses, addresses, landmarks and street names worldwide, and can select from a road-map style view, a satellite view or a hybrid of the two. Also available are "bird's-eye" images for many cities worldwide, and 3D Maps which include virtual 3D navigation and to-scale terrain and 3D buildings.
News Live Search News is a news aggregator and provides news results relevant to the search query from a wide range of online news and information services.
Products Live Search Products lets users search from a wide range of online suppliers and marketer's merchandise for all types of products and goods.
QnA Live Search QnA lets users to search from a database of questions and answers, and at the same time allow users to post their questions online on to the site where the public can answer them.
Video Live Search Video enables the user to quickly search and view videos online from various websites. The Smart Preview feature allows the user to instantly watch a short preview of an original video. See also Soapbox on MSN Video
xRank Live Search xRank lets users to search for celebrities, musicians, politicians and bloggers, read short biographies and news about them, and track their trends or popularity rankings.

On May 23, 2008, Microsoft announced the end of Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, both sites to be closed, with their results integrated into regular Search. Soon after the announcement, Microsoft posted a notice on Windows Live Expo stated that its service will be discontinued from July 31, 2008.

Webmaster services

Live Search allow webmasters to manage the web crawling status of their own websites through Live Search Webmaster Center. Additionally, users may also submit contents to Live Search via the following methods:

  • Live Search Local Listing Center allow businesses to add business listings onto Live Search Maps and Live Search Local
  • Live Product Upload allow merchants to upload products information onto Live Product Search
  • Live Search Books Publisher Program allow book publishers to upload information onto Live Search Books
  • Soapbox on MSN Video allow users to upload videos for searching via Live Search Video

Microsoft's announcement for the end of Live Search Books and Live Search Academic on May 23, 2008, also included the closure of Live Search Books Publisher Program.

Live Search Cashback

Following the acquisition of, Microsoft has integrated its services with Live Search to become what is known as Live Search Cashback. This service allow users to earn cashback savings based on a percentage of the product price they have purchased online using Live Search.

Other search services

Live Search Mobile allow search results to be displayed onto a mobile device. Microsoft also develops and operates other search tools and services including Windows Desktop Search.

There are also many Windows Live services available that are not directly search-related. Windows Live Hotmail, for example, is a webmail application, but still include search features.

Search results

Live Search is not limited to reporting back indexed pages corresponding to a plain search query. When entering a search query using multiple words Live Search will search results trying to match all the keywords. However Live Search also contains advanced search options available through an advanced link and dropdown options, or directly via entering advanced options in the search query:

Advanced search options

In searches on Live search you can use operators to improve search results. Live Search recognizes the following operator symbols:

  • +: Finds pages that contain ALL the terms preceded by the + symbol, and allows inclusion of terms that are usually ignored.
  • ": Finds the exact words as quoted.
  • (): Finds or excludes pages that contain a group of words
  • AND or &: Finds pages that contain ALL the terms or phrases
  • NOT or -: Excludes pages that contain a term or phrase
  • OR or |: Finds pages that contain either of the terms or phrases

Advanced search keywords

A variety of advanced search operators can be used to perform more sophisticated queries. These are:[4]

  • filetype:<filetype>—restrict the results of the Live Search to a particular filetype extension e.g. .html, .txt, .pdf, .doc, .xls, and .ppt
  • contains:<filetype>—returns the pages linking to the specified filetype.
  • site: <URL>—restricts the returned hits to a specific website.
  • link:<URL>—Finds sites that have links to the specified website or domain.
  • linkdomain:<URL>—Finds sites that link to any page within the specified domain.
  • linkfromdomain:<URL>—Finds sites that are linked from the specified domain
  • url:<URL>—Checks whether the listed domain or web address is in the Live Search index
  • ip:<ip-address>—Finds sites that are hosted by a specific IP address.
  • language:<language code>—Returns web pages for a specific language.
  • loc: or location:<language code>—Returns web pages from a specific country or region
  • inanchor: or inbody: or intitle: or inurl:<searchphrase>—Returns pages that contain the specified term in the metadata
  • prefer:<searchphrase>—Adds emphasis to a search term or another operator to help focus the search results.
  • feed:<searchphrase>—Finds RSS or Atom feeds on a website for the terms you search for.
  • hasfeed:<searchphrase>—Finds web pages that contain an RSS or Atom feed on a website for the terms you search for.

Sidebar gadgets

Live Search Gadget is for Windows Vista's Sidebar that uses Live Search to fetch the user's search results and render them directly in the gadget. The gadget allow users to configure up to two additional custom searches. Users can also search using Live Search Macros from this gadget by creating their own macros or find one in Windows Live Gallery.

Live Search Traffic Gadget displays real-time traffic conditions using Live Search Maps. The gadget provides shortcuts to driving directions, local search and full-screen traffic view. Currently only traffic data from 23 selected U.S. cities are supported, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington DC.

On October 30, 2007, both Live Search and Live Search Traffic gadgets were removed from Windows Live Gallery due to possible security concerns.[5] However, as of January 24, 2008, the Live Search Traffic gadget is again available for download after the security concern has been addressed.[6]


Reviewers such as Greg R. Notess note the strength and weakness of Live Search as follows:


  • Large, fresh, unique database
  • Query building Advanced Search and full Boolean searching
  • Cached copies of Web pages including date cached
  • Automatic local search options.[7]


  • No truncation, stemming, or wild card word in a phrase
  • Limited to 10 words in a query
  • Advanced search not on front page, but available after running a search[8]

UC Berkeley Library lists three recommended search engines. They are Google, Yahoo!Search, and [9] Although, Live Search is the third for its popularity in the U.S., and the fourth in the world (Baidu, a Chinese search engine is the second), UC Berkeley ranks over Live Search. has subject-specific ranking and suggests narrower or broader terms on the result. For example, if a user search for "postmodernism," it presents as the sidebar options of narrowing to "definition of postmodernism," "history of postmodernism," "postmodernism and arts" and others. Neither Google nor Yahoo!Search do not have this function. Live Search does not have this function either. UC. Berkeley Library seems to value this feature of over various other positive features of Live Search. Nevertheless, just like Google, Live Search is not simply a search engine but an integral part of comprehensive service which include instant messenger, email, file sharing, blog, and other kinds of web services. Integration of services to cellular phone is now becoming a trend. While dozens of search engines retired from the market over the decades, Live Search seems to keep its popularity due to Microsoft's continuous advancements in technology and market strategies.

Tie-ins and promotions

Since May 1, 2006, Live Search results have been syndicated on Amazon's A9 search service and the experimental Ms. Dewey interactive search site.

On January 17, 2007, Microsoft announced that all searches done from a special portal site would lead to a donation to the UNHCR's organization for refugee children, The amount to be donated is not readily available on Microsoft's sites, but Reuters AlertNet reports that the amount to be donated is $0.01 per search, with a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $250,000 (equivalent to 25 million searches).[10]

In April 2007, Microsoft launched Live Search Club, where users can win prizes by playing word games that generate Live Search queries. In February 2008, Microsoft launched a similar service, called "Big Snap Search."[11] Microsoft subsequently launched Live Search SearchPerks! on October 1, 2008, allowing users to redeem tickets for prizes while using Live Search.

See also


  1. Search Engine Land, Nielsen NetRatings: August 2007 Search Share Puts Google On Top, Microsoft Holding Gains. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  2. Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft severs Live Search from the rest of the Windows Live family. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  3. Chris Sherman, Microsoft Upgrades Live Search Offerings, Search Engine Watch. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  4., Advanced search keywords. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  5., Yes, the Live Search and Live Search Traffic gadgets are gone: Security concerns cited. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  6., The Traffic Gadget is Back! Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  7. Greg R. Notess, Review of Live Search, the Users' Guide to Web Searching. Oct. 21, 2006. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
  8. Ibid.
  9. UC Berkeley, Recommended Search Engines: Tables of Features. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
  10. AlertNet, Microsoft Donates to, Reuters. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  11. Brand Republic, Microsoft challenges search users to game of snap. Retrieved November 17, 2008.


  • 2006. "REVIEWS & RANKINGS—Search Software—Microsoft Windows Live Search." PC World 24 (6): 72.
  • 2006. "Search Software Microsoft Windows Live Search." PC WORLD 24 (6): 72-74.
  • 2007. "NEWS—Microsoft Is Giving Some Corporate Users Financial Incentives to Use Its Live Search Engine and Trying to Entice Developers to Create Mashups for Live Search." Computerworld 41 (12): 6.
  • 2007. "REVIEWS & RANKINGS—Web Service—Microsoft Windows Live Search." PC World 25 (2): 76.
  • 2008. "Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Live Search Books." Smart Libraries 28 (7): 6.
  • Foley, Mary Jo. Microsoft severs Live Search from the rest of the Windows Live family. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  • Hardy, Q., and V.M. Barret. 2006. "Google Vs. Microsoft: The Race to Rev Up the Search Engine." FORBES 178 (11): 44-49.
  • Townsend, James J., Dmitri Riz, and Deon Schaffer. Building Portals, Intranets, and Corporate Web Sites Using Microsoft Servers. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2004. ISBN 9780321159632.

External links

All links retrieved August 12, 2014.


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:

The history of this article since it was imported to New World Encyclopedia:

Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed.