Challenging Google, Microsoft Unveils a Search Tool for Online Scholarly Articles, from the Chronicle

Microsoft is introducing a new search tool today that will help people find scholarly articles online. … The new free search tool, which should work on most browsers, is called Windows Live Academic Search. For now, it includes eight million articles from only a few disciplines — computer science, electrical engineering, and physics. … Among the disappointments he noted is that the search engine has no feature that can track citations, as Google Scholar can.

I’m not sure this can be said to be a challenge to Google, actually. In that vein, the best part of this article actually isn’t even the article itself: down at the bottom of the page, under Background articles from The Chronicle, is a link to this headline:

Google Unveils a Search Engine Focused on Scholarly Materials (11/19/2004)

So Microsoft has provided a product a year and a half later than Google, that does less than what Google’s product did on the first day of its release. Well done! Leading the pack once again.

The beta for Windows Live Academic is here. From that site:

How do you determine relevance? Are you using citation counts in the relevance ranking?

We are determining relevance based on the following two areas, determined by a Microsoft algorithm:

  • Quality of match of the search term with the content of the paper
  • Authoritativeness of the paper.

Currently, we are not using citation count as a factor in determining relevance.

Someone please tell me how authoritativeness is determined then?