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Is This the New Look of MSN Search?

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Earlier this month, the UK version of MSN's search preview showed some interesting relevancy sliders that quickly disappeared. Now I've spotted them via the MSN page caching server.

A couple of days ago I was using the MSN Search Technology Preview and noticed that cached pages were being served from http://cc.msnscache.com/.

I went directly to the site and while my searches DIDN'T work I was able to get a glimpse of what the new MSN Search product might look like and some of the features that could be in the works. We will have to wait and see.

The page is still online (you can check it out yourself) but I've also included links to a few screenshots in this post.

1) At the top of the page you'll notice links for Web, News, Image, and PC search. At the moment "PC" links to the MSN toolbar but this could be where they'll offer up some type of desktop search tool.

2) Clicking the green "arrow" next to the search box offers a pull-down menu with different database options. You will not see PC search listed but an option to run a dictionary search.

3) A link to a Spanish language version of the interface (not working).

4) Clicking "Search Builder" offers several "menu driven" advanced search options and one-click ability to add them to your query.
+ Add search terms
+ Limit by Site
+ Backlinks
+ Limit by Region
+ Limit by Language

+ Finally, and what I found most interesting, an option to use three "sliders" to manipulate the ranking of pages. In other words, add or reduce the weight of certain ranking factors. Some might even call it personalization since the results I see might be different than the ones someone else views for the identical search.
The sliders are labeled:
+ Updated recently--Static
+ Very popular--Less popular
+ Approximate match--Exact match

The use of "sliders" to manipulate results are also seen with Yahoo's Smart Sort and Kayak's new travel engine.


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