Microsoft has finally launched its own search engine, 15 months after it released the beta, in a bid to take a larger slice of the world's $5bn (£2.66bn) commercial search market.
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Improved search facilities will help Microsoft keep and win customers for its MSN network, and will also create revenues from more sponsored search links.
A new MSN Search will eventually replace the Yahoo technology currently used by the MSN network.
MSN Search includes a number of new features including searches based on the Microsoft Encarta encyclopaedia, an MSN Music search feature, and localised searches (only in the US initially).
Microsoft is aiming to make MSN Search as popular as Google, and is about to unleash a multimillion-pound global advertising campaign as part of its attempt.
"We’re committed to continuous improvement in the speed, precision and ease of use of our search service," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform division.
Microsoft’s recent record financial results highlighted the increasing importance of MSN to the company as a source of new revenue.
AOL, Yahoo and Google have all unveiled their own new search initiatives in recent weeks.