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OK, this is strange…

I don’t want to be unnecessarily Microsoft bashing here, but take a look at these two identical web searches on Google and Live Search:

First, Google (click to enlarge).

Google search for free software

Now the same search on Windows Live Search (or whatever it’s called now):

Live Search for free software

Notice that in the Windows Live Search one, there is absolutely no mention of free software as in the freedom type. Not even a scrap of evidence that the FSF exist.

Now, either Windows Live Search is worse than I originally thought, or there’s some kind of conspiracy thing going on here. I hope for Microsoft’s sake it’s the former.

If it were the latter, I would be very worried.

It’s not Google being quirky either, Yahoo also list the FSF as the top result for the same query.

Do the searches yourself – on Live Search, Google and Yahoo.

UPDATE: turns out this only happens when Live Search is set to weight UK results (like when you come from a UK-based IP address through More info.

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  1. Lee wrote:

    That is strange, I’ve just done a search for “free software” and the first result was the FSF, although according to thie site I was logged in, maybe there is a conspiracy!

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 21:21 | Permalink |
  2. Chris wrote:

    FSF is the first result for me on Live Search.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 21:29 | Permalink |
  3. Peter wrote:

    Got it.

    If you bounce through from a UK IP address, it presumably prioritises UK results and the search for some reason (still unknown) excludes the FSF.

    If you go to (or bounce through a non-UK IP), it sets the mkt value in the URL to mkt=en-us, so no UK weighting on results. Then it returns the FSF as the first hit.

    For privacy reasons, when I posted the link to do the search, I stripped out all URL key/value pairs except the actual query, which removes the UK weighting and the FSF comes it at number 1. Here’s the the original search link.

    I guess I should have checked my URLs carefully before posting 🙂

    Still, it leaves an unanswered question – why no FSF in the UK?

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 21:39 | Permalink |

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Linspire :: Blog :: Peter Upfold on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 15:24

    […] a bit ironic they’re setting a search engine which on the UK version can’t find the FSF on a query for ‘free software’ as the default. On what is supposed to be a free […]

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