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Local Search - MSN and Windows Live Local

on 24 Feb  Posted by Admin  Category: Search Engines  
by Jody Nimetz
http://www.enquiro.com

A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled How Often Do You Use Local Search? Recently I was checking the local results in MSN and came across something I hadn't noticed before or at least I hadn't paid much attention to ... Windows Live Local. Hmm something fairly new in search from MSN and Microsoft? Windows Live Local (http://local.live.com) is powered by their Virtual Earth technology. I must say that I wasn't really all that impressed with MSN's Virtual Earth technology when it debuted a few months ago. However I thought that there were some great features with Windows Live Local. One thing that I liked about the view of the results was that you had the option of road (which is basically a map view), aerial and bird's eye view which provided clear thumbnails of the location queried. I managed to generate a great bird's eye view of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

There are some other pretty cool features such as the "Scratch Pad" where you can use the Scratch Pad to save and share your search results, addresses, and custom pushpins that are of the most interest to you.

If your browser supports ActiveX controls and you have ActiveX enabled you can use the Location Finder feature. This feature allows you to display your current location on a Windows Live Local map by using Wi-Fi technology. You can also use the Location Finder feature by IP address which attempts to find your location based on your computer's IP address.This method is not as accurate as the previous method using wi-fi.

Another interesting feature is the Permalink feature that allows you to return to Windows Live Local with the same view as was displayed in your original query. This can be handy when providing directions to friends or family members who are visiting from out of town as you can email them the URL with directions.

You can modify your settings in Windows Live Local to edit the number of results returned (your options are 5 or 10). You can also set the map navigation to use an animated pan and zoom (This is the default, to change just uncheck the checkbox).

Windows Live Local is still in beta and only returns results to centers in the US. I tried a few queries for businesses in major Canadian cities but was not successful.

Overall Windows Live Local has great potential but I was disappointed in the fact that I could not find any Canadian listings and that I could not find an easy way to submit a business to Windows Live Local. I did like the clear imagery on some of the results that were returned. If you haven't already, I would recommend you experiment with Google Earth and Windows Live Local. Personally I think there is a way to go but this is a step in the right direction as the search engines try to improve our experience in search.

Jody Nimetz
Search Marketing Strategist
Enquiro Full Service Search Engine Marketing

Copyright 2005 - Enquiro Search Solutions.

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