Comparing Windows Live Search and Google

Post ImageAfter less than a year in beta, Microsoft is set to release the final version of Windows Live Search tonight (actually it’s no longer marked beta for me). The search engine will now power MSN Search too. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to compare Live Search and Google (currently my default search engine). How does it stack up? Could it possibly be my new default search engine? Let’s find out.

First off, please note I am focusing only on the basic search functionality – load up the site, type something in the box, and press enter. Both Live Search and Google have a bunch of other options (and Live Search’s macros and other things are especially neat) but right now I am just interested in the search results I get. I will say however that I really like the look of Live Search. And that it loads just as fast as Google does.

1. hello world
First search is for what else but hello world (Live, Google)! This is a hard one. While the results are similar, I like Google’s better. Why? The top result is for a .edu site, talking about “hello world” program examples. The second result is for the Wikipedia entry on “hello world” programs. Live on the other hand, returns (which appears to be a streaming video site) for the top two results. Google has this one too, but at #3.
# of identical results in top 10: 5
winner: Google

2. mastermaq
Next up is a little vanity search, for mastermaq (Live, Google). I keep track of this search at Google fairly often, and it usually alternates between some Brazilian company and my blog as #1 (oddly enough my blog is down at #6 today). There’s a clear winner here, and it’s Live Search. Why? Well because all of the results but two are created by me. Google lists my profiles at other sites far higher than it does my own sites. Something created by me is far more important don’t you think?
# of identical results in top 10: 4
winner: Live

3. podcast spot
How about a search for Podcast Spot, since we’ll be releasing it soon enough (Live, Google). So these results suck on both sites, but that’s probably because you can’t actually get to Podcast Spot right now without a password. Despite that, Google delivers much better results. I don’t know how the first two results in Live even matched (some random color video and an article on GM podcasting). Google is at least smart enough to put our login page at #1. The category for Podcast Spot at the Paramagnus blog is #3 on both sites.
# of identical results in top 10: 2
winner: Google

4. britney spears
She used to be one of the most frequently searched for celebrities (Live, Google). The results start out almost identical on both sites, then Google goes downhill. “The Mystery of Britney’s Breats”, some crappy fan sites, and a Google page at #10 pretty give Live the win. With the exception of only the #9 result, everything Live returns is appropriate.
# of identical results in top 10: 6
winner: Live

And now for a tie-break!

5. ventureprize
Let’s see what turns up for the business plan competiton we competed in this year (Live, Google). What a terrible query for the tie-break! Anyway, it seems that Live is really showing Paramagnus the love, with five of the top ten results from sites belonging to us (I include my Flickr page here). Google seems to prefer the University of Alberta and City of Edmonton sites. While I love being higher in the search engines, I have to give this one to Google, for having the most relevant first result.
# of identical results in top 10: 4
winner: Google

So there you go, a very unscientific comparison of Google and Live. I am impressed enough by Windows Live that I’m going to try and use it for a week or so, to see if I feel anything is missing. The thought of not using Google does seem strange though! I am really happy with the speed of Live, because one of the main reasons I started using Google was that it is damn fast. The Live Search team was wise not to ignore this.

What has your experience been with these two search engines?

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