Being an ardent fan of Google(its philosophy-technology-products) sometimes does stimulate you search for some other product that tries to beat it. I did not expect M$ to even come close to Google ; for its the sheer simplicity of the latter coupled with amazing performance and features that has pushed itself to greater heights and better customer experience.
I was playing around with the Image searches being offered by Google and M$(Live) and i was surprised by the results and the performance/features of the Image Search Engines.To my limited knowledge , neither of the Image Search Engines support "Content Based" Searches and its mostly "Context Based" based searches (sic! wherez the intelligence!!).
I found that M$ Image Search experience to be highly satisfying when compared to that of Google's. The images are displayed in a neater format (without any verbiage) and when the mouse hovers on the images, the properties associated with the image is displayed. There is a sleek slider on the right-hand top that controls the number images and their size that is displayed in the page region.
Features in other Image Search engines :
AltaVista : Has an LoV(Drop down) at the top of the page wherein you can specify whether one wants B/W images or Color - this is really interesting!
Pixsy : really slow!! But has some dimensional refinements - on Content Type , Categories,Sources. But instead of showing all along the left hand side, i would allow the user to save the options in his/her preferences and hence allowing more space for the images to be displayed.
For a complete list of other Image Search engines - visit this