MSN Search Stuff — Answers vs. Links

from the yeah,-okay,-whatever dept

It’s hard to get all that worked up about Microsoft finally “unveiling” their new “Google killer” search engine, since the topic has been discussed to death, and the search engine has been available as beta and even in plenty of normal results for certain users for quite some time. However, the one interesting feature is that Microsoft is pushing the new service’s ability to “answer” questions, rather than just providing links. It seems that all the various search engines are looking to offer some sort of “answers, not links” solution at some point. While there certainly are some situations where it makes sense, I’m not sure it always is the best solution. Especially with more people becoming fluent in “search results” you can often learn a lot more by sifting through the links, rather than simply getting an answer straight off the bat. Again, of course, this depends on the query and the situation (someone on the go, looking for the nearest gas station, for instance, has a specific need and an answer is more important than a link). However, those who think answers should replace links may be underestimating the value of links.

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