Today most people still look to Google for their search results, but I do remember the day when I used to have to check 3-5 search engines to find the results I was looking for. It was a real pain checking multiple search engines. Also, pre-Google, I recall checking Hotbot and Excite first, then Altavista, and surpringly, I checked Yahoo last. Several years ago, Yahoo was great for directory listings, but terrible for finding keyword searches, but they have gotten much better.
Now it appears that MSN beta has gone live and is now showing results at MSN.Com. Beta results had started to display in MSN listings over the past three weeks but since Sunday, the .COM (US / Global) version of MSN has consistently mirrored those found at MSN(beta). The regional versions of MSN still appear to display Inktomi (Yahoo owned) / Regional partner generated results.
Google is still the big boy on the block, however the engineers at MSN.com have had the luxury of watching what Google and Yahoo did, see what works and then design their search engine from the ground up taking the best of each. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft attempts to integrate their desktop search tool with their web search engine or if they come up with any creative integration ideas.
MSN revisits sites very frequently and in fact over the past year, MSN has compiled a 5-Billion site database.
Although I don't like the idea of now having to check multiple search engines again, I'm hoping that will good solid competition from MSN.com, that Google will be kept on its toes and continue to improve its search engine. Although SEO "gamers" and other factors will always cause some variance in the results, in theory, as the complex search engine formulas become more accurate, we should all get similar search results regardless of the search engine used. Then it just becomes personal preference which search engine to use as opposed to being forced to use the "big boy on the block" for the most accurate results.