Microsoft has introduced its new search engine that it says is better, faster and more curious than previous versions.
The beta version debuted at Microsofts www.Live.com on March 8. The beta, and a revision expected in a few months, will challenge market leader Google, said Microsoft Search Senior Product Manager Justin Osmer.
Microsoft also released an updated version of Live.com and a Windows Live Toolbar beta on March 8.
The Live.com search engine has high expectations, and arrives at a time when search market leader Google appears to be vulnerable to challenges after several financial hiccups as the Internet search market continues to grow rapidly.
Also, at a recent public appearance, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates promised a search engine from Microsoft that "more than matches" Googles.
"To say well get to overall number one in a few months is a bit bold," Microsoft Searchs Osmer said during an interview. "But, maybe well be number one in some market metrics."
Osmer said local search and relevancy, a measure of the sharpness of a search engines results, are areas Microsoft could soon lead.
Most noteworthy of the changes is the addition of Microsofts own picture and video search technology.
Microsoft had been using technology from Picsearch, based in Stockholm, Sweden, to do the video search dirty work in the past.
Picsearchs technology will for now only be found on MSN.com, Microsofts popular portal which Live.com is meant to ultimately replace.
Other changes include a sliding scale on how much of a Web page to reveal, a smart scroll feature for showing all search results on a single page and a sharper video search feature as a result of the technology switch out.
The new search engine also scours more stuff, including search, news search, RSS feeds, e-mail search, local search and searching of MSN Shopping and MSN Spaces.
Editors Note: This story was updated to reflect that the search engine had gone live.