Windows Live Search Toolbar — not quite there yet

I forced myself to uninstall the Google toolbar and exclusively try out the new Windows Live Toolbar. I think I’m going to uninstall it today. First of all, I like a lot of things about it:

  • Customizable buttons
  • Lots of great features
  • Search history with automatic drop down list that shows past/related searches
  • Desktop search works as well as always. I couldn’t live without it.

I also noticed that the search results for Windows Live were just about as good as Google’s. That is a great thing–we need more competition in this space to keep things going.

However, with all that good there are some pretty significant issues (at least for me).

  • It is sloooooooooooooooow. I mean, noticeably slow, painfully slow, distractingly slow. I want my search results nearly instantaneous. None of the pretty features matter if I have to wait 15 seconds for search results to show up when your competitor can come up with the same result in 2 seconds. Is it the web-site or the toolbar–I’m not sure yet.
  • Lack of Instant Answers. One of the things I love about MSN search is the ability to track packages, get weather, and lookup addresses. Why wasn’t this built into Windows Live from the beginning? I know they’ll be adding them, but still…
  • Sometimes, the toolbar refreshes or does something that erases what I’ve already typed. I think this is an issue when it first starts up–if I’m too quick to begin searching. Not a huge issue…

I’ll be getting a new computer at work in a few weeks. I’ll try again after that. Hopefully Microsoft will have made some improvements. I’ve submitted my list of issues to their feedback page, and hopefully they will make this product better.


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