MSN Desktop Search Images Surface

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-11-15 Print this article Print

Details of an internal prerelease of MSN's desktop search software leak onto the Net.

Screen shots of an early version of MSNs desktop search application began circulating on the Web on Monday, indicating that Microsoft Corp.s Internet division plans to release a product with deep connections to Windows. Technology enthusiast site first disclosed the product details, prompting an MSN executive to post on MSN Searchs Weblog that the screen shots are from an internal prerelease version of its desktop search. "While were flattered by the attention and interest, this was an unauthorized disclosure," wrote Oshoma Momoh, general manager of MSN Search program management, in a blog posting. "As many of you know, we have been working on a PC search product for some time, and have demonstrated some early prototypes over the past several months."
To read more about an earlier preview of MSNs all-in-one search, click here.
Momoh wrote that MSN plans to release a beta version of its desktop search product before the end of the year. MSN officials have been discussing plans for desktop search since the summer and indicated that it would eventually combine search results from local hard drives, such as e-mail and Office files, with Web results from MSN. In its online posting, wrote that the desktop search product provides a tool bar that is installed in Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook and Windows Explorer as well as an MSN "Deskbar" application that is accessible from the Windows taskbar. Search results vary based on the application from which users are searching. So the Outlook tool bar returns e-mail and contacts, the IE tool bar retrieves Web results and the Windows Explorer tool bar finds PC-based results. But users also can choose to combine Web and hard-drive results in all searches, and the overall MSN Deskbar application brings the different results together, according to Neowin.nets analysis. "Searching is speedy and you can even search for the author of certain files," wrote about the desktop search. MSNs desktop moves follow its July purchase of startup Lookout Software LLC, which had created an add-on to Outlook for searching e-mail, contacts, files and other hard-drive data. Desktop search has become another battleground among leading search players. Google Inc. last month launched a beta of its desktop search application, which brings together desktop and Web results. Yahoo Inc.s CEO earlier this month said during an investment conference that the company is working on a desktop search product, and Ask Jeeves Inc. acquired desktop search company Tukaroo Inc. as part of its plans to move into desktop search. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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