Search Engine Comparison.

Microsoft recently went live with its MSN Search. Others like Yahoo! and Google have also been steadingly improving their search engines.

The entry of Microsoft in the search engine market has prompted a lot of excitement and several people have already posted comparisons between these three. Here's one by Gaurav Sharma. Prompted by Gaurav's trials, i conducted a few of my own (sort of to find out for myself). The only difference was that i looked for Madonna and Sharon Stone instead of Britney Spears ;).And here are my results: (note: All the results are for black and white images with Safe Search on, however be warned, some of the results might contain nudity)

Now read Gaurav's article and compare them yourself :)

My verdict ? As usual Google came out tops when it came to number of results with Yahoo! and then MSN (for Madonna: 16200, 8600 and 1366 resp). Even though thats attributed to number of sites indexed - ideally Yahoo! should have come out on top (its older). As for explicity content filtering (also called "Safe Search") - MSN came out top, then google and then Yahoo!.

To add to this search comparison - i also tried searching the three for news on "shankaracharya" (in the light of recent events). Here's what i found.
, MSN with 480 , and Yahoo with 425. Searching Google News (which is currently in Beta) and Google News with India selected turned up the same number of results. MSN Search allows , but changing that did not affect the search results much. Yahoo! on the the hand shows dramatic change in number of results when search on Yahoo!, Yahoo! India and Yahoo! UK. All in all i would give Google News top marks for its comprehensiveness. I also found other features like "All 99 related >>" link below each search, a news thumbnails next to it and lastly its news alerts (something i use heavily). I also noticed that MSN and Google show result retrieval times (0.26 and 0.13 seconds respectively), but Yahoo! doesnt. Also MSN search counters Google alerts by adding a RSS link for the searches (nice !). I didnt notice anything similiar for Yahoo! (i am leaving out My Yahoo! purposely).

On an after thought i also tried searching on all the three sites using Unicode Indic Input method (see BhashaIndia and Baraha) for more details) for the devanagari word "Mandir" (मंदीर). And here's what happened - (in descending order of my ranking) - Google (5 results), MSN (2 results) and Yahoo! (1 result). Now hows that ? (For the curious, see: How do i write in my Native Language)