Windows Live Academic (WLA) search (beta) is scheduled to go live after midnight, focusing on (not surprisingly) computer science, physics and engineering subjects. The Microsoft tool provides abstract previews via a preview pane, sort
and group by capability, and citation export, according to the website.
WLA contains both freely available and access-restricted content, just like Google Scholar. A key difference between this search and Google Scholar may be authentication. Microsoft has worked with publishers and universities to provide (seamless?) access to subscription content, according to the website. Google is also working with libraries — “offering the option to include a link for their patrons” — to make their tool more useful for students and researchers.
When I tried the service — 2.00 – 2.30 am — it wasn’t yet working (or the servers were being hammered – but in the wee hours of the morning?). I switched from Firefox to MSIE in case the tool didn’t like my browser — but that didn’t help. My search results screen stayed in a perpetual state of “Loading…” Will update later today.