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MSN starts using its homegrown technology for its search engine from today, replacing a previous agreement with Yahoo!

It allows you to search the web, news, images or Encarta - Microsoft's encyclopedia. MS previously charged for access to Encarta content. With Search Builder, you can specify the language, country or region of the website you are seeking. You can also adjust three bars, like a graphic equaliser, controlling how recently the page was updated, how popular the site is and whether it is an exact or approximate word match.

Microsoft says the document index is updated more frequently, every two days, than the industry norm of every two weeks. It also claims "one of the largest indexes" with five billion documents.

Microsoft has used the launch to rejig the MSN homepage, giving more space to the search box. The search engine has been in beta since November last year. The difficulty for Microsoft is differentiating its engine from rivals.

Have a look yourself here. ®

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