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Image search in Windows Live

Posted by Sankar on March 29, 2006


http://www.live.com from Microsoft has been open to public for a while now. It is in BETA stage though like so many other google apps.

But I particularly liked the image search funtion in windows live. I compared the UI with that of google's image search and this is what I feel.

  • The results page in Windows Live is inifinite, unlike Google's where we have to click next, next to get to more results. The subsequent images get loaded behind the secnes while you are still on the results page. Pretty neat. I am guessing that with a decent net connection, the whole process will go unnoticed.
  • Next, the ability to choose the thumbnail size on the fly. There is no page refresh. This is similar to the OS X image search. The same desktop functionality has been brought over to the browser.
  • Clicking on an image takes you to the actual page with the image. But the actual image is superimposed on the page (the actual page and the image are in two different layers). You have the option to show/hide the image layer. Also, the great feature is that the image results are in the side with a scrollbar. This will enable you to browse between images faster. In google, we have to click on the image to go the page, then click back and forth to swap between different results.

http://www.live.com/#q=cars&scope=images&lod=2&page=results

But there are few issues too. I still feel that the search speed of Google is way better than Microsoft. Not sure if Microsoft will even be able to match this. Then comes the actual quality of search results. Looks like the cache size of Microsoft is much less now as compared to that of Google. Several keywords didn't bring up any results. "Cricket" for example. Not sure if there was a problem with the application or that there were no results cached. Finally, the stability of the application itself. I encountered a wierd error saying "Error returned from server. Please try again".

But overall, this has been a good effort from Microsoft to counter Google's dominance in the search domain. Definitely a step in the positive direction.

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