Video: Scoble & MSN Search


Scoble talks to Erik Selberg and Andy Edmonds of MSN Search ina half hour video interview that covers a range of issues including their neural network.

I've not watched it yet, but i'm about to :)


It's a 57-minute video, actually

And very interesting. They reveal quite a bit of high-level information regarding Microsoft's engine. One of the most interesting facts, to me, is that you can use the {frsh=} syntax to alter a query's results. The closer to 0 the value is, the more stale (stable) the results in the top ten are. The closer to 100 the value is, the fresher (more dynamic) the results are. It looks to me like the default setting is 50.

They also talked about PageRank and confirmed that, like Google, MSN uses a document importance factor to influence their search results.

The neural network doesn't run entirely by itself. They tweak it on the basis of input from users (they claim to get 8,000 feedback emails a day).

Maybe the scariest part of the interview is their proud admission that they run the entire service on Windows. Not totally unexpected, but trusting Microsoft with a mission critical application is so risky.

Maybe the neural net spends part of its day fixing Windows bugs and plugging security holes.

Nice of Andy and Erik to do

Nice of Andy and Erik to do that. There was waaaay more in that than I thought they would reveal as compared to the usual PR soundbites we tend to get from search quality folks. Kudos to both of them and I can appreciate their apparent enthusiasm for the task they were given. Oh, and Scoble, quit cutting them off when they are answering you!

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