Seamless Searches

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-10-18 Print this article Print

Microsoft is preparing new search technologies that will let users search seamlessly across their local machines, corporate networks and the Internet. One such project is called Stuff Ive Seen, which relies on Microsoft search to create an index of personal content, including e-mail, attachments, files, Web pages, and calendar and journal entries.

Rashid said there has been a greater emphasis on new ways of thinking about how to bring users personal information to the search process.

"Stuff Ive Seen uses the users memory as a search context or looks at your past queries and the data that is on your hard drive as a way of qualifying Web queries to better define the search," Rashid said. "We have looked at your previous query history as well as what documents are on your machine and what data you have."

Microsoft Research also has completed work on Sapphire, a user interface project designed to make the search and storage of information more intuitive. Sapphire tracks everything a user does on the computer, then stores and correlates the data, Rashid said. Another research project, the Memory Lens Browser, exploits the same idea.

Although impressed, Rochesters Lawley cautioned that privacy issues around local search will still need to be solved. "While local search has value, anything that involved sending local search data to a central server would not be well-received," she said.

Matt McMahon, executive vice president of Fathom Online Corp., a search engine marketer in San Francisco, said: "Consumers are wary of spyware, spammers and anything else that has the appearance of using their personal information for others gain. The lessons we have learned from search engines and search marketing are that the consumer wants to be in control and does not want personal intrusions."

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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