Microsoft has launched its new MSN search engine, featuring a new home page with search tools and many other enhancements. The page apparently has some five billion pages in its index, and should put Microsoft into the highly competitive search market against companies like Google.

The new MSN search promises to deliver more relevant search queries, instant answers to questions, and is available in twenty-five markets and ten languages. There is also an "Instant Answers" feature, as well as access to Encarta encyclopaedia and the MSN Music Library. There are even new tools for doing customized web searches based on very specific criteria.

One of the new tools being offered is Search Builder, which gives web surfers the ability to do customized web searches based on specific site or domain, country or region, or language.

How much does all of this threaten Google? Well, it's believed that Google still ranks as the king of the search engine industry, but that Yahoo and MSN have improved their performance levels quite significantly. This move from Microsoft may further improve the performance and popularity of MSN.