Microsoft has added a search engine to its Irish portal site and has claimed this facility could reduce the amount of time that internet users spend looking for information.
The service, at www.msn.ie, has been tailored for the Irish market and is intended to help Irish users to get results that are more relevant to them. The search facility also offers tools to refine and target queries, including a search builder that lets users customise their searches via a menu of adjustable onscreen dials to emphasise or de-emphasise certain criteria such as a specific site or domain, country or region, or language.
Visitors to the site can also fine tune searches using category-specific tabs such as web, news or images. In some cases, queries return instant answers instead of a long set of links. Information from Microsoft’s Encarta encyclopaedia are provided in categories such as geographical locations, historical and popular figures, definitions, facts, calculations, conversions and solutions to equations.
David Graham, MSN business manager, said the search engine had been built from the ground up. “We’re committed to continuous improvement in the speed, precision and ease of use of our search service,” he added.
Supporting the launch, Microsoft released survey information, which found that on average people spend more than 32 hours per year ‘lost’ in cyberspace – that is, unable to find the information they seek. For all that, the internet remains the most popular choice among many consumers seeking news, information or trivia.
By Gordon Smith