Microsoft Corp.'s widely anticipated search engine, which launched in test mode Thursday, encountered some glitches on its first day, the world's largest software maker said.
The new search engine, Microsoft's first assault on Google Inc.'s leading position in the market, returned "temporarily unavailable" messages to some users looking for answers to queries at its Web site at beta.search.msn.com.
"In the process of making our new MSN Search Beta globally available, we experienced technical difficulties that rendered it unavailable for some consumers for periods of time," Microsoft said in an e-mailed statement.
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Microsoft said it had expected such problems with MSN Search during its beta, or test mode, while soliciting feedback from users.
"We expected to find some problems in the beta, and we anticipate there will be additional times when we limit service availability for maintenance purposes," the company said.
Microsoft had been working on its search engine for the last 18 months after deciding to challenge Google's leading position the market.
Microsoft's said its new search engine would deliver results from a database index of more than 5 billion indexed Web documents and pages. Google said Wednesday that it had nearly doubled its index database to 8 billion pages.