Jack Writes: In an attempt to catch up with Google's and Yahoo's search services and establish a better competitive position, Microsoft is enhancing its Windows Live portfolio with two more customer-oriented search services: Product Search and Academic Search.
Similar to Google's Froogle and Yahoo's Shopping service, Microsoft Live Product Search will allow the user to search for various products taking into consideration extra criteria such as category, brand, seller or other specific keywords, also offering a price comparison possibility.
"It is also rumored that as well as including expert or user-provided buying guides, Product Search will also provide access to discussions on products from articles and blog posts, something Froogle does not yet do," wrote Chris Overd, one of the authors posting on LiveSide blog.
The other new service, Academic Search, will be a direct competitor to Google Scholar. It basically allows users to search for books in libraries located near them or for articles from academic journals.
More specifically, according to the LiveSide blog, it will have features which will allow users to: view an abstract for an academic article in a search preview pane; view the complete article, as long as it is not being hosted on a Web site that requires a subscription or is restricted-access; view a complete article as long as they have a valid subscription to do so; and purchase an article electronically using the British Library.
According to Microsoft, a beta versions for Academic Search will be available before late September. No further details were disclosed about Product Search, although the company said that they will be forthcoming.