Recently I covered the new shopping search when I did an interview with Garry Wiseman of Microsoft, but yesterday the Live Search blog highlighted some additional aspects of their shopping search engine. You can see their example if you do a search on hp printers and then click on the HP Color LaserJet 2600n.
The resulting screen shows user ratings which have been culled from a review sites across the web. First of all, there is a global rating up top, a feature offered by many shopping sites. What is truly unique though is the presentation of summaries of all the review comments on a attribute by attribute basis. The above referenced interview covers how Microsoft put this together in detail.
What yesterday's post by Microsoft adds to the equation is an examination of the detailed review comments. If you click on the "Speed" link, for example, you get to see the detailed review comments themselves. This comes in two views, one that shows just the positive comments, and one that shows just the negative comments.
This is great if there is one aspect of the printer that is particularly important to you. Not only can you see the aggregated review score for all apsects of the printer, or the score on an attribute by atrribute basis, you can also see the detailed comments without having to visit multiple sites across the web.
For example, when you look at the detailed comments on speed, where 56% of the comments were positive, and 44% were negative, you can get a better picture as to how that feature was evaluated by users on these review sites. Not knowing the particular printer at all, after reading the comments, my sense was that it was reasonably fast if I put it in an environment where it was essentially for personal use.
You also get the sense that in office environments where larger printing jobs might be relatively common that you might not be as happy with it. This ability to drill down rapidly and quickly to the core of the issue that matters most to you is an extremely useful feature.