'Tis the season for instant answers

Ahh…once again the holidays are approaching. Once again we’re thinking of family, gifts, travel, and at least some of us are dreaming about snow-covered slopes. Time for joy, family, fun, and lots of web searches.

The Live Search team has made the last part quicker and easier. Here are a couple of instant answers that will simplify some of your holiday tasks.

Shopping

How about a new digital camera for your dad? Simply type in the name of the camera you have had your eye on (say, a “Canon PowerShot”). You’ll see an instant answer with the images and prices of several popular models.

Image of Canon Powershot instant answer on Live Search

You can also type in the exact model (such as a “Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH”) and then see an image and a summary of the reviews and specs.

Image of Canon Powershot instant answer on Live Search

Travel

Finding travel deals is one of the most frustrating parts of the holidays. Airfares seem to be more fickle than the stock market. I never know the best time to buy my tickets. Thanks to Farecast joining Live Search, you can find out whether airfares are climbing or dropping. Just type “Flights from (point A) to (point B).” You’ll see an instant answer with the current price of a flight between those two points and a prediction of whether prices will rise or fall.

Image of Farecast prediction instant answer on Live Search

Farecast pulls data from millions of trips from several sources, and then they run the data by an algorithm developed by several PhDs from the University of Washington. In the end, you save money.

Our Instant Answer blogging team will be taking some time off during the December holidays, but check back in January for more news about instant answers.

Theo Vachovsky, Instant Answers Product Manager, Live Search

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