Microsoft is to unleash its much anticipated search technology tomorrow, as it ramps up efforts to take on Google.
The new search engine will go live on the company's MSN website.
The software giant has made clear it wants to conquer the lucrative search market. In June, it upgraded its MSN Search site and has been posting search technology prototypes at its testing site http://sandbox.msn.com.
Now web users will be able to test-drive its latest search efforts. Although details of the new engine are not yet available, SearchEngineWatch.com editor Danny Sullivan said that he had been playing with search betas earlier this week.
"From what I've seen on Sandbox, the technology is still pretty unremarkable," said Sullivan.
Although he acknowledged that the beta did not have all the bells and whistles expected with the full release, Sullivan said some of his test searches did not bring up the authoritative sites expected from a search engine.
"From what I've seen so far, they haven't been savvy in terms of search optimisation," he said.
This could be a major obstacle to Microsoft leaping past Google and Yahoo. According to Sullivan, to stand out a new search technology needs to serve up incredibly relevant results, possibly delivered in a new way, such as being able to tap separate databases for different types of searches.
Otherwise, new search engines should build in a set of good features if they want to lure in users. "It could be victory by a bunch of little cuts instead of one sword," Sullivan said.
Whatever approach Microsoft ends up taking, it appears determined to dominate the top of the market. MSN Search is already number three in the market, according to Sullivan, so the company has a solid user base to build on.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service