A Case for Search.Microsoft.Com

I know that Google rocks.  I have the toolbar.  I'm a card-carrying member of the Google API fan club.  I hound their employees for autographs during their annual company SkiFest at Northstar-at-Tahoe. But I've often wondered when and how Google might someday let me down.  Today, it happened.

Google doesn’t always rock.  In this case, it doesn't even gravel.

In a side-by-side taste test, search.microsoft.com outperformed google.com when searching for documentation on a slightly out of date and discontinued Microsoft product, BackOffice Server.

Search String:
”BackOffice Developer's Guide”

From www.google.com, you get the following 13 useless hits.  Change the search string to "BackOffice Developer's Guide" site:microsoft.com and google performs even more miserably, returning only 2 worthless hits.


From www.microsoft.com, you get three good download links.


Key Takeaway:

Search.microsoft.com rocks!  Rumor has it that up to 2/3rds of the content on MSDN is not mirrored on Google.



This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Comments (16)

  1. I think that makes the score

    Microsoft – 1

    Google – a few million

    looks like the game is getting close!

  2. Scott says:

    So do a search for "ASP.NET DropDownList" at search.microsoft.com


    Then do the same search at Google.com with the prefix site:Microsoft.com "site:Microsoft.com ASP.NET DropDownList"


    Google’s top link is a direct link to the web controls main reference page at MSDN

    search.microsoft.com doesn’t even include that page in the returned links. Heck doing the same search from the MSDN page and limiting it to the MSDN library doesn’t even return that page in the hits.

    So I don’t know you from nothing, you’re probably a really nice guy. You seem like it from your intro. But if you’re going to compare a Microsoft technology to a non-MS technology. The MS search engine is NOT the tech to compare. Every time it’s been overhauled, I’ve tried it again and every time I end up going back to Google. 🙂

    P.S. doing a search from googles main page with the prefix site:microsoft.com returns these results.


    None of them are the download you posted, but they do get you pointed in the right direction.

  3. Scott says:

    <rant>I’d like to point out that of the top 3 "Technical resources" links that search.microsoft.com returns, 2 of them are for Whidbey. Which isn’t even out yet?!

    That’s the biggest problem with searching MSDN, every time Microsoft puts a fricken app into beta suddenly that’s all you can find at MSDN. Information about the new tech that we can’t use yet. That’s great that you are giving us new information that we’ll need in the future. But what about now? I’m not using Whidbey now, I’m using 1.1. I’ve even got Longhorn and Indigo crap turning up in my searches and that won’t be out for 4-6 years! I dont’ need to see that. </rant>

  4. LOL! Points taken. They told me I’d like it over here on weblogs.asp.net and they weren’t wrong.

    Next time, I’ll be sure to compare apples to apples: Google vs. LexisNexis 🙂 OR Google vs Grokker.

    News You’s Can Ews (from http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1412563,00.asp):

    Groxis Inc. on Monday will unveil an alternative way to search the Web and visualize the relationship of the query results. Called Grokker 2, the desktop software adds new twists to traditional Web search-engine results. Rather than returning a simple list of results, Grokker groups them into various categories that are displayed in a visual map of icons, allowing users to drill down to find specific sites or content.

    In the first version of the software, launched in October 2002, Grokker used metadata from the data sources themselves to categorize results, said R.J. Pittman, chief executive officer of Sausalito, Calif.-based Groxis. The initial version connected to Ask Jeeves Inc.’s Teoma search engine and Amazon.com Inc.’s product database.

    In Version 2, Grokker has its own intelligence engine that analyzes content in order to categorize it on the fly, Pittman said. It also pull search results from significantly more sources of information. Users can retrieve data from six search engines at once; the new version adds Yahoo Search, MSN Search, AltaVista, FAST and WiseNut to the mix.

  5. Scott, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have forwarded your comment about the excessive visibility of new technologies on MSDN to some folks who might be able to make a difference.

  6. Jason Salas says:

    Really? I always use Google to search MSDN, as I’ve found MS’s site search to be really hard to use, wht inaccurate results. I usually look up APIs or .NET docs, and I do alright.

  7. Raj says:

    I have also found MS search terrible. I use this link to search MS related content.


  8. Scott says:

    Groovy, hope some good comes from my comments

  9. Alex Martin says:

    Google and msn and yahoo

    miss my site!

    Search that rocks?

    Rocks search better than those 3 portals.

    How about a portal that searches badder and better than google.

    We that make websites are tired of not being on google etc


  10. I start with cash advance until pay day cash advance until pay day

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