It looks like Windows Live Shopping is finally live. From the blog post entitled Ta Da! from the Windows Live Shopping team's blog we get the following excerpt

Today we launch the brand new Windows Live Shopping site!

What is it? It is the beta launch of Microsoft’s Web 2.0 shopping experience, featuring one of the world’s largest product catalogs, user-created content and an easier-to-use interface built on 100% AJAX technology. It uses a unified shopping engine to search or browse almost 40 million products from 7,000 stores ranging from many of the country’s leading retailers to eBay. Results are displayed in an order that is not affected by advertising; merchants cannot pay to have their items show up closer to the top. Users will be able to drag-and-drop items to a shopping list and share lists with friends; see user reviews of products and sellers; and read and create public shopping guides on any subject.

You can get more of an inside perspective on the new service from the Ian McAllister's blog post entitled Windows Live Shopping Beta Has Hatched where he talks about some of the thinking that led to the creation of the service.

Unfortunately, as noted by Mike Arrington in his post Microsoft Live Shopping Launches - But No Firefox the site doesn't support Firefox. This is a known issue and one the team will address in the future. I personally think they should have waited until Firefox support was working. As Mike Arrington points out a lot of geeks and power users have switched to Firefox from IE. Mike states that 70% of TechCrunch's traffic is from Firefox users. In December 2005, Boing Boing stated that more of their readers use Firefox than IE.

Luckily some folks from the IE team helped me fix my IE 7 problems and I got to try out the service. The user interface is definitely snazzy in the way that all Windows Live services have become. Dragging and dropping items into a shopping list is a neat touch as is the slider that lets you control the amount of detail or images in the search results. It doesn't seem that the search index is quite populated yet. Below are search results for an item I've been wanting to buy for the past few weeks [and just purchased after running these searches] from eBay, Froogle, Windows Live Shopping and Yahoo! Shopping.

  1. Search for "transformers decal" on eBay
  2. Search for "transformers decal" on Froogle
  3. Search for "transformers decal" on Windows Live Shopping
  4. Search for "transformers decal" on Yahoo Shopping

How would you rank the quality and quantity of those results?


Saturday, April 29, 2006 7:16:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
5. Search for "transformers decal" on eBay Express
Mind Reader
Saturday, April 29, 2006 8:15:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Windows Live Shopping doesn't work in Firefox and it crashes IE. So I'm going to say it loses by default.
Saturday, April 29, 2006 8:32:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I just went and had a look, and I have a few observations/questions:
1) I couldn't find a shipping policy, so I have no idea what, if anything, would be shipped outside the US (are there different policies for different source vendors?). That's the kind of thing they should if possible have up front so people know whether they're wasting their time (it's *very* frustrating on sites where you get all the way through to checkout before seeing the fine print...almost as frustrating as Microsoft Voice Command that will never be sold to anyone in the Antipodes, but I digress).
2) Is there an API?
3) Is there an API?
Saturday, April 29, 2006 11:59:18 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I am using IE 6, on WinXP SP2. What stunningly slow speed, Is that because it is beta or is it becaue it is Web 2.0 from Microsoft?

Thanks, but no thanks, I'd rather shop elsewhere.
John Doe
Sunday, April 30, 2006 12:08:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It really is hard to take the Windows Live offerings seriously when they keep coming out sans Firefox support. Google and Yahoo don't launch their apps IE-only first (or Firefox-only first, either). It just makes it look like Microsoft doesn't get it.
Sunday, April 30, 2006 8:19:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
For some reason when I try to open the WLS link it just sits there loading for about a minute and then displays one result. Why would it take that long to display a single result?
Monday, May 1, 2006 2:44:48 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
(one more try to post)

A batch of answers:

The API is there, I'm just not sure if I can post it here... But since it's an ajax site, you can still 'sniff' the request and you'll find it :)

Shipping policy is usually on the merchant's page, but I agree it's not easy to get there... on the todo list.

Firefox support should come quite soon, it was a pain to have to cut it to meet the deadline... (along with other features... but that's how it works)

I'm not sure, but I believe gmail was IE-only in beta... I mean, when it first got out :p
( was for sure, and/or

You'll see the quality of the selection severely increase in the next weeks, cf answer #3.
Monday, May 1, 2006 11:22:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Same experience as Samuel...20 seconds or so of "Loading" and then one weak result. Not remotely comparable to eBay, Yahoo and Froogle.

I can't help but fell that "100% AJAX technology" sounds very lame. Couldn't care less about Ajax in shopping search.
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