And The Oscar For Best Search Engine For Oscar Winners Goes To … Microsoft Live & Ask.com

I’ve written about how hard it is for people to break the Google Habit (and see here) and consider other search engines. But breaking the habit can be done, and Microsoft’s Live Search shows an easy win for this type of thing in response to a search for oscar winners. Check it out — the actual winners are shown right at the top of the page:

oscar winners - Live Search

Microsoft talks more about this special feature in a blog post from Friday. And similar to Microsoft, Ask.com also provides direct answers:

oscar winners - Ask.com

Now compare those to what you get on the same search over at Google:

oscar winners - Google

No actual answers, nor is the first site the official Oscars web site, as you’d think would be most relevant (Microsoft and Ask both puts the official site tops, Microsoft right after the actual winners, Ask in between the winners and a lot of ads). At Yahoo, there are no direct answers.

Providing instant answers like this isn’t something new for search engines. They’ve long been offered. They’ve had different names at different search engines, but the concept has been out there for years.

But old tricks can still be good ones. For me, these type of specific answer searches can be a habit breaker when you know to expect them consistently. If there’s an earthquake, Ask.com has a long-standing feature that gives you a list of the latest quakes at the top of the page (try it yourself for earthquakes). I always check it for quake news. I absolutely love Microsoft’s snow report feature and go straight to Microsoft if I need to check on a resort (try it for Brighton, Utah).

Of course, Google has a long list of direct answers it provides, from weather to the current time. It’s no slouch here. But there’s still plenty of opportunity for competitors to stake out territory for certain types of searches.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: Analysis | Search Features: Shortcuts | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.realicity.com Realicity in Minnesota

    WoW! Ask & MSN are doing search better than Google? And Yahoo is just as behind as Google. Kudos to A & M!

  • http://thepalermoproject.com itsraoul

    This is interesting; never thought that Google could be outdone. I’ll start checking MS Live now..

  • http://blog.ask.com Keith_Hogan

    Danny, thanks for the post. Ask has always tried to anticipate our users need and to save them valuable time by putting the most important information at the very very top of the page. You should expect to see this focus continuing going forward.

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