Microsoft announced the acquisition of Medstory, a vertical health search engine today. Gathering health information, Medstory which is based in Foster, California aims to “search complex fields on the web intelligently,” and health is where they’re starting.
I think Microsoft’s acquisition brings up a bunch of things. Vertical search engines in the past haven’t had their 15 seconds of fame — given the volume, they’ve rather been ignored and overlooking. Microsoft acquiring a search engine and Google acquiring things like JotSpot and Writely seem to show how important both the company’s fields are and how important it is for them to expand.
Trying out Medstory, I noticed this is one smart niche search engine. Not only was it able to give relevant answers to my query, the way it was laid out, I could easily make out not only what it is but a lot of things related to it. I could also find not only normal website results but things such as the topic being discussion in the news media, audio summaries and videos, studies and related research article.
For many people, when they find out their aunt has cancer or their family relation has been affected by a really bad and previously unheard of desease, Google is usually where they look to. From now, I’m truly going to recommend Medstory to anyone who wants to do this — it’s one of the most useful tools I’ve seen in this field. Microsoft’s acquisition after a long time I think is a sign that they’re back in the game. While Medstory may not be anything revolutionary or Web 2.0 (not that I’m saying that the two things are related 😉 ), I think it’s a good thing for them no less.