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.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." Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
"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."