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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Search giants offer new features
Google home page on a laptop
Rivals are keen to take on Google
Yahoo and Microsoft have announced upgrades to their search engines in efforts to gain ground on rival Google.

Yahoo's makeover will include features that allow users to refine searches as well as offering links to photos, music and video on the results page.

Microsoft's new-improved Live Search represents a "quantum jump in search results" according to the company.

Google remains the most popular net search engine, accounting for over half of web searches.

According to data from comScore Media Metrix, Google had a 56.5% share of the US search market, compared to Yahoo wtih 23.3% and Microsoft with 11.3%. In the UK, Google's dominance is even greater with around 75% market share.

Its dominance has forced rivals to relaunch, add new features and improve the relevance of its searches in an effort to compete.

Microsoft's improved Live Search - which will be available globally by the end of October - will offer a series of new featues, including a quadrupling of its index of searchable web pages as well as improving the way it delivers answers to specific questions.

It will draw on its three-dimensional mapping service for location-relevant searches as well as offering video, charts and pictures for relevant results.

Yahoo's upgrades include offering ways to phrase a search request as a user types into the query box. It will also use information from its calendar service, Upcoming.org, to highlight local events when relevant to requests.

Search rival Ask.com relaunched with a dramatically different interface in June, offering search suggestions and thumbnail pictures of listed sites.

There has been a rise in so-called metasearch engines which trawl through a variety of other search engines to find results.

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