Vanity searching on Microsofts new live.com portal

Posted on Mon 04 December 2006 in Internet

i-2ff7496c301d1d0cc72974f05c40ef4f-shot1-thumb.jpg I know, it's a vain thing to do but I couldn't resist. Microsoft have their new search engine out and the first thing I can think to search for is *me*! While the service isn't that new, it's new to me as I still have google as my default search engine.

So, over to http://www.live.com/ to find a pleasantly clear screen. Just the search box, just like google. I can't fault the style or the speed of the page load, let's search for that world favourite search topic [ Steve Root ].

My life is a sucess! live.com recognises me as the most relevant search result for 'steve root' giving me positions 1 and 2. That's after the sponsored links, apparently people looking for me would also like to know there are "great deals on Steve", at Ebay (where-else would you go if you wanted to buy me?).

i-2fef5758e4e4c96f8f1d9099b02a2823-shot2-thumb.jpg I'm not the only Steve Root out there. I now know that

"Steve Root is managing director of Mace Plus Interiors" www.maceplus.co.uk
"Steve Root has vast experience developed and gained through working for local Yorkshire dealerships such as Rover, Audi, Vauxhall, Volkswagen (VW) Ford, Fiat and Alfa Romeo." www.root1.co.uk
"Steve Root has responsibility for the Como team for the interiors and IT/Comms division to ensure that we continue to provide our clients with a first class delivery service." http://www.comogroup.co.uk/

and all on the first page. Actually, one of of these Steve Roots appears twice because maceplus appears to be a part of comogroup. I also ignored my own reappearance on the roots kitchens bedrooms bathrooms web site.

All of these results came from the UK but I hadn't ticked the only from UK search box. Perhaps live.com decided that the results should be prioritised to show 'local' results first. For me that may not be good. Most of my searches relate to technical things like "mysql subquery just one record" (the word I needed was "distinct" but I didn't know that at the time). I found the answer on an american web site, prioritising UK results may have meant I took longer to find the result. If I search for Steve Root on google I also find results for the actor "Stephen Root" on American web sites, alongside other american Steve Root's.

We're not all searching for text of course. Some of you may be looking for photos of me. Let's try the live.com image search and see if I'm the best looking Steve Root in the world.

i-59f61bed942c85c622f4abb131a66b92-shot3-thumb.jpg BLIMEY!! That wasn't the result I expected. You'll noticed I've had to censor a certain part of the image results here. The photo isn't a "Steve Root", rather a photo called "root-42570017su-000.jpg" that is titled "Steve". Makes sense I guess. The photo doesn't really need to be censored, I'm just having fun while I write. The photo is of 'steve' having his body painted at an open art festival in the desert called 'burningman', but he looks pretty cold to me.

So, how far before I found one of my pictures? The tenth picture was me from the roots web site, right next to a picture of a beer pump. Yes. Root Beer - it was "Steve's favourite" :-)

Alas, I appear not to be the best looking Steve Root in the world. "Steve Root" also happens to be a model.

So, what do I think of live.com search? I prefer google for now. The image search interface at live.com is pretty clever but it's results that count. Google found more results and prioritised them better.