MSN never appealed to me. Partly because it’s being pushed in my face basically everytime I use MSN or Internet Explorer and partly because the site looks like your average glossy with mobile phone and dating ads all over. A while ago they’ve starting some more interesting stuff, though. Finally.
“MSN Spaces”:http://spaces.msn.com seems to be a nice product. One that will undoubtly become very popular (I believe there are already over 1.5 million spaces). The free hosted weblog for the masses. It’s said to be well-integrated into the new MSN which is good for them. I heard that 95% of the Dutch youth is using MSN so they got a user base.
The “new search engine”:http://search.msn.com is nice as well. Finally some serious Google competition. The old search really was bad. They even got some “TV”:http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/2/9/c2935f83-1a10-4e4a-a137-c1db829637f5/Basketball.wmv “ads”:http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/2/9/c2935f83-1a10-4e4a-a137-c1db829637f5/Intro_NewWay.wmv now too. A nice addition to MSN Search is “MSN Desktop Search”:http://toolbar.msn.com, works very well.
Now they add more innovative stuff to MSN Search. Google always allowed you to use it as a simple calculator by typing in things like “20 + 8”:http://www.google.nl/search?q=20+%2B+8 as search queries. “MSN allows you to do that as well”:http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=20%2B8&FORM=QBHP but they take it a step further. It can solve equations now, for example “x² + 4x — 17 = 32”:http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=x%5E2+%2B+4x+-+17+%3D+32 and it’ll calculate x for you. Now that they connected Encarta to the search, you can ask it questions like “What is the population of the Netherlands?”:http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=What+is+the+population+of+the+Netherlands%3F&FORM=QBRE. Want more information on the Netherlands? It’s “at your fingertips”:http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761572410/Netherlands.html?ENCMauth=6idJ5Xmw%2fMQrV%2bu%2fhFYQeswAdS%2fkudeF%2ftWPC7Asdmcx7qME2LWFALGKHwDX9p1Xtpk25ew0A7M%3d.
“Read more about the new things that MSN Search can do”:http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2005/02/04/367478.aspx. (“And what it has been able to do for a while now”:http://www.imagine-msn.com/search/tour/moreprecise.aspx.)
I might replace Google with MSN Search for a while, see how I like it.