"What do we have under the hood?" asks Microsoft, rhetorically, on the home page of its experimental Google-rival, the revamped MSN Search. It's a good question. Particularly given some peculiarities of the tech-preview version of the service. For example, Sneak is quite surprised that Google should think an entry in this very blog deserves to be result number two when a user enters "pick axe" into Google.co.uk. Sneak is happy to get the traffic, but can only assume that pick-axe fans or prospective buyers are highly likely to be disappointed if they choose to visit. But doubly oddly, the same search string at the new MSN service brings up Sneak's item in exactly the same position. By contrast both AltaVista and Ask.co.uk understandably leave Sneak off their lists of hot pick-axe picks. So Sneak does wonder, what exactly is under the hood? Does MSN in fact do exactly what the rest of us do when we want to find something? Does it simply zip off to ask Google?
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