Microsoft is slowly playing catch up with Google and Yahoo. The software company is adding two new services to its Windows Live portfolio - Windows Live Product Search and Windows Live Academic Search.

Windows Live Product Search will be similar to Google's Froogle service (www.froogle.com), in that it performs price comparisons on products and allows the user to refine the search results by category, brand, seller or specific keywords, according to a posting by Chris Overd on the Microsoft testers' blog, LiveSide.

"It is also rumored that as well as including expert or user-provided buying guides, Product Search will also provide access to discussions on products from articles and blog posts, something Froogle does not yet do," he wrote.

Academic Search, aimed at Google Scholar, will allow users to search articles in academic journals or find out if books or articles are available in a library located near the user, according to another LiveSide posting.

According to LiveSide, Academic Search will allow users to do the following:

  • View an abstract for an academic article in a search preview pane
  • View the complete article, as long as it is not on a website that requires a subscription or is restricted-access
  • Purchase an article electronically using the British Library

Microsoft said that Academic Search would be available in beta form before late September. The company declined to disclose release details for Product Search, but said they would be forthcoming.