New Microsoft Search Engine

Microsoft has been lurking in Google’s ever-growing shadow for a long time. Today it launches a beta version of its new search engine. I did a few quick searches to try it out, and it looks like it works pretty well. I think most search engines are working pretty well these days though. These companies have had lots of time to develop algorithms for helping people find what they’re looking for.
As far as the look and layout goes, I’m amazed that people think the Google look is the only acceptable way to present search results. MSN results match the look of Google right down to the font and colors. Their “sponsored listings” are also very similar but slightly less obviously labeled (labeled more clearly than before though). They show more sponsored results that Google at the moment too.
The sponsored links come from Overture, the company that pioneered the paid search listing practice (f/k/a, and subseqently acquired by Yahoo). The news results come from Moreover Technologies, the company I worked for before going to law school. It’ll be interesting to see whether Microsoft develops some of this stuff in house (an advertising network to compete with Google?) or continues to outsource the specialty services.