Microsoft has revealed the first non-beta version of Windows Live Search, which will replace MSN Search across the software maker's many sites and services. Live Search is available at http://www.live.com and will replace MSN.com as the default home page in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows Vista.
"The launch of Live Search is a significant milestone for our services business," said Microsoft Vice President Christopher Payne. "We now have the base to weave search through our services in ways that bring value to customers. This is just the beginning. We look forward to continued investment in search \[technology\] to deliver services that bring new levels of control and personalization to the Web experience."
The Live Search Web portal is simple, Spartan, and vaguely Google-esque. The service is being rolled out in 47 markets worldwide and will now power all search requests from MSN.com, a portal that garners over 465 million unique visitors each month.
Microsoft also shipped a non-beta version of Windows Live Local Search, which aims to help customers find local services and maps. Windows Live Local Search differs from competing services by offering stunning birds-eye images of many areas from closer to the ground than ever.
Microsoft announced its Windows Live strategy late last year and has since been busy rolling out a steady list of Windows Live products and services, including Windows Live Messenger 8.0 (IM), Windows Live Mail (Web mail service), and Windows Live Spaces (blogging). The company will offer links to Windows Live services in Windows Vista but, in a change of strategy from previous Windows versions, won't bundle them in the OS itself.