Not that many people would notice, but Microsoft's Live Search got a nice makeover recently. Here's the front page:

Nice.

The search results page(s) have similarly been streamlined. For good or bad, Microsoft has done away with the Windows Live common toolbar, which had previously been turning up on all their sites/services:

The Windows Live Blog explains:

Along with the release of our new search experience, we'd like to give some background into the design team and process that went into all the changes you see. You might not immediately think of design as being a critical part of a search product, but we think it is, and we have a growing team of designers, researchers, and developers who believe it, too. We have a growing, pro-design community here at Microsoft as well.

Simple and powerful. Human. Fast. These were our guiding principles for this latest version of Live Search.

Here's the nickel tour:

  • Simple and powerful is about getting just enough, having information and tools when you need them, and revealing functionality without being overwhelmed.
  • Being human reminds us that all good products speak to people and we should always design for them.
  • Being fast has particular relevance to search where so much depends on rolling up the world of information to support people's countless other activities and passions.

OK, fair enough. I'm just curious whether any of this means anything. I mean, does anyone really care?

Related: Live Search Design: Too many cooks? (LiveSide)