Live's New Video Search and UI (Beta)

Last night I was alerted to a new Beta Video Search and UI for Live Search. It’s still definitely in beta, but it shows a lot of promises with loads of additional features. I tested all of these sites with Firefox on both WinXP and OS X and to some extent on IE6, I did not notice any browser-specific issues. Here are some of the highlights:

Video Search:

This is a good Video Search. It has a clean, uncluttered UI with a single column of video results down the middle. The results show an image from the video with the major expected meta-data (title, format, quality, and genre). I was surprised to find the index size to be comparable to Google’s and a third the size of Yahoo’s for the searches I ran. The results also seemed accurate (I must not have looked in the right nooks and crannies).

video.JPG

Header:
The new header starts you out with 4 tabs (Web, Images, News, & Local).

header.JPG

To the right of those is a More tab that reveals a lot of other search options including Academic, Video, Feeds, and Products (all in Beta), as well as options for managing Search Macros. One thing to note about the Product search is how clearly they have marked that this is coming from the MSN Shopping portal as opposed to a web crawl.

more.jpg

As you select verticals from the More tab they stay pinned to your header providing more control. It’s handy to be able to customize your search experience that way. If Video Search keeps rising in prominence I expect it will be added to the intial tabs on the page.

Image Search Scratchpad:
The Live Image Search UI is among the best out there. The dynamic scroll, the image pop-outs, and the slider for changing slides really make a difference. In this release they are adding a Scratchpad that will allow you to save collections of images. The index quality still needs improvement, but I definitely see progress in that area.

scratchpad

Live Search is definitely showing a web centric view of the world and trying to turn their product into a serious research app. I hope the Scratchpad feature is added across all of the verticals (I expect this will happen) and then eventually tied into Onfolio (the recently purchased client-side RSS Reader).

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