New Live Search Features

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The Live Search team announced on their latest blog post some great new features for Live Search: Autospell and Stemming. They hope that these features will help to return the best search results for your intent, and not just the particular terms you searched for. The Autospell feature determines whether or not you've misspelled your search term and delivers you a page of spell-corrected search results as opposed to a "Did you mean _______?" link at the top. They promise that this feature will only be activated if they are "absolutely, completely, totally, 'no doubt about it' confident you misspelled one of your search terms!" The second big improvement is stemming. What stemming does is match the "stem," or root of the word, rather than the exact word. As an example, they reported that users had told them that the search "half price book Redmond" returned terrible results, but "half price books Redmond" was much better. Wtih stemming, searches for "half price book" will now also return the results of "half price books." Stemming is tricky because you can "stem" all the time - a search for "cable" could mean TV or some type of cord! So the challenge with stemming is knowing when to turn it on and off. Try some searches for yourself and then let the team know what you think!

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