Here is what Microsoft explained is new:
- Relevance, relevance, relevance. We’ve quadrupled the size of our index, which means we can return the right results for your searches. Improvements like enhanced ranking algorithms, auto-spell correction and better stop word handling help us return the best results.
- Speed. Pages load much faster than before.
- Streamlined look and feel. We focused on the end-to-end experience from the homepage throughout the site. For example, search results are now easier to read thanks to work on typography, contrast, colors and spacing.
- More high-interest content. You asked us for more in Entertainment, Shopping, Health, Local and Video search and we’re happy to deliver it.
In the coming weeks we’ll blog in detail about the improvements that we’ve made. You can also check out the press release that just hit the wire and the fact sheet for more information.
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land goes deep on these changes posting screen captures of many of the new features.
So what is the verdict in the various forums? We have two large threads, one at WebmasterWorld and the other at DigitalPoint Forums. The general consensus in the forums is that the search results are no better than they were. Here are select quotes from the forum thread:
If MS thinks their results have been better than Y! since 2006 someone should be ordered to take a drug and alcohol test.
Boy I looked at a few SERP's and they are terrible, unless you are a guestbook/blog spammer. Maybe I'm in competitve spaces, but all I see are .edu spammed URL's.
Some of the discussion at DigitalPoint Forums is more positive, because they have seen increases in traffic to their site from Live.com, but not due to perceived relevancy.