I tried the beta version of MSN search a few times today.  Half of the time the service was unavailable.  The other times I found the results of business-oriented queries to be better and different than Google.  Our off-the-shelf business test searches are:

  • cable modem market share
  • France GDP
  • iPod units sold

Historically, the cable modem market share search on Google has yielded very old data.  Results on the first page contain data from 1999-2002, nothing more recent.  The results on MSN were much better.  I found excellent information dated July 2004 and September 2004. 

For the France GDP search, on both services, you get to the CIA FactBook on the first page of results, which is a reasonable source.  But MSN had some other interesting results and I thought overall the MSN first page was better.

Finally, the first result for the ipod units sold query on MSN was a blog called FirstAdopter.  The precise answer to my query was on the cached version of the page, included in a blog post from October. 

It’s very early but it seems like MSN is going to be a viable alternative to Google for business-oriented searches