nicolas leroy

New version of Windows Live Products

May 02, 2008

On LiveSide:

Following an extremely long period of inactivity (in fact, the team blog‘s last post was back in April 2007), Live Search Products has finally been updated along with the latest wave of Live Search releases. […] You can see that you’re now able to refine your search results on the left by user opinions, brands, category, and price range. In comparison to the old product search, we found that the search results have improved dramatically (try typing in “MP3 Players” in the old and new search). Other improvements, although available before as part of the Shopping Search vertical already, include the ability to compare prices and view user ratings and reviews.

I wrote about Windows Live Product Search (the previous name of this product) one year ago. The new version is now a true CSE with price comparison pages, not only a product search. What I like in this new version is the ability to filter the results by reviews criteria (the feature is called “refine by user opinion”).

Let’s try a search related to digital cameras. The “refine by user opinion” feature lets me filter on products with overall positive reviews, on products with reviews talking about photo quality, or ease of use, or lens… A clever way to leverage the potential of crawled reviews!!

Analysts have been dubious about the Live strategy of Microsoft since the beginning; but for me, things are still unclear. Early ’06, Microsoft previewed Windows Live Shopping – a “classic” CSE – and Windows Live Product Search – a pure crawled-based product search. Early ’07, Windows Live Shopping was cancelled with a message saying MSN Shoppingwill continue to be the flagship product“. Now in ’08, Windows Live Products has some features that MSN Shopping lacks (deep reviews content; ability to filter by user opinion). Microsoft, why keeping two shopping verticals?