SEW forum moderator AussieWebmaster passes along news that he's heard from an high level MSN contact the new MSN search engine currently being beta tested will move to the main MSN Search site on Feb. 1.
That fits in well with some timings we've heard in the past. MSN had promised the new technology would be integrated into the service by the end of last year. But after the beta launch, various dates were being cited by those quoting MSN, including the Wall Street Journal saying the end of January 2005. We were told by MSN it would be at the latest in early 2005.
MSN has already warned that more people using the regular site will begin getting results from the new beta technology, which has long been a precursor to a major switch with the service.
Paid listings from Overture are also said to be continuing through the end of the year. Rumors that MSN might be gearing up to run its own self-serve paid listings program circulated earlier this month -- but this suggests that any timing of that won't be immediate.
See our forum thread MSN Search Out of Beta Feb. 1 for the news and discussion following it.
Postscript: Our forum thread IMO New MSN Search is NOW LIVE! looks at how the rollout might come even earlier than the official announcement.