To deal with privacy and security issues, MSN is taking advantage of the authentication and user account controls in Windows. In cases where multiple people use a Windows PC, MSNs desktop search controls access so that users can search only e-mails and files from their own accounts, said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search and Shopping. MSN also does not search Web site visiting history by default in an attempt to avoid issues with secure Web pages such as bank account information being indexed, Payne said. Googles desktop search has raised some concerns among analysts and enterprises for not providing any controls over what its desktop search indexes on shared machines and for indexing secure Web pages by default.Mehdi said the MSN Toolbar Suite could reach more than 100 million users from the companys MSN Messenger and the MSN.com Web. The desktop search suite will be generally available early next year, he said. The beta is available in English only as a free download. One feature MSN has not included in the toolbar suite is the ability to search across its MSN services. Yahoo executives have said the companys desktop search beta will be updated throughout next year to search e-mails and files from such Web-based Yahoo services as its online address book, Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Mail. Asked about whether MSN had similar plans with its services such as MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail, MSN executive did not provide any details and instead pointed out that the toolbars provide links to launch MSN services. The MSN Toolbar Suite runs on Windows XP or Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and requires Internet Explorer 5.01 or later. To run e-mail indexing, the suite requires either Outlook 2000 or later or Outlook Express 6.0 or later. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Read more here about the enterprise security issues that desktop search raises.