Recently, we have had lots of questions around the differences between pure vanilla MSN search and the MSDN Search Site based on Windows Live. The typical question is about why some content shows up in the MSN Search and not in the MSDN Search Site. The explanation is actually very simple. The MSDN search is based on a set of “Site:“ and other restrictions. This reduces the content down to developer related content. When users are on MSN search and enter a term like “System.xml” with the restriction “site:msdn.microsoft.com” you are creating a query with only one portion of the query we use. We have more qualifiers to prevent duplicates. What we have found however is that we lose some content that we would like to have included. For example when searching for the article How to transform a DataSet to spreadsheet XML for Excel by using Visual Basic .NET and ASP.NET by searching for “How to transform a DataSet to spreadsheet XML for Excel by using Visual Basic .NET and ASP.NET.” MSDN search today does not come up with it in the searches top 10. It is the fourth entry on MSN search. However, if you go to the new labs implementation (http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/search/refinement.aspx) and enter the same long query name, the result is number one. The difference is that the query structure is improved to contain more content.
If you are searching for something on the main MSDN search site and you can’t find what you are looking for. Try MSN or Labs implementation and let me know if you find it. I will then make sure we add it to a list of content that needs to searched. As always your feedback is welcome!