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Thursday, December 23, 2004

MSN Search Will Be Everywhere spoke with MSN product manager Justin Omer at Search Engien Strategies Chicago, and he explained to them how MSN Search will start making its way into a variety of Microsoft products. There are no plans for bundling the toolbar suite with other products, such as Office, Internet Explorer or even Windows, but technology from the new search engine and the Desktop Search will make its way into a variety of products, and many products will take advantage of MSN Search, if you have it installed.
"However," Osmer added, "the technology behind [search] is a cross-company effort right now," and it's already being used in a number of Microsoft products. "The technology will be important to Microsoft across the board," he said. "The search effort has helped the company to reinvigorate search."
Microsoft wants to avoid any situations similar to what happened with Windows Media Player this week. When MSN Search goes fully live, Microsoft will release APIs that will let both web and product developers take advantage of it. Don't be surprised if someone puts that API to use to put MSN Desktop Search in all sorts of Windows applications, from RealPlayer to Photoshop, or even as a Firefox extension. Microsoft aims for MSN Desktop Search to be the way all products search the system for files, and the API is what will make that possible.

Don't expect MSN Search and MSN Desktop Search to leave beta at the same time. While both are part of Microsoft's new search strategy, they are still being produced by different teams, Osmer explained. Interestingly, he also noted that MSN Desktop Search is based largely on code from the Sharepoint server products.
We took that shell, made it unique to us for the client environment, added bells and whistles, and integrated it into the toolbar suite.
Also, MSN Search may not add web history ever, since from a security standpoint it creates more problems than it is useful. Google has run into many issues and criticism from the fact that if you've ever typed in any sensitive information into Google Desktop Search, someone can likely find it and use it, a problem which becomes even worse when security flaws allow outside attackers use of Desktop Search results. Osmer praised this and other advantages of MSN Desktop Search, including its use of the Windows logon to protect your results from other users of the computer, and allow multiple users on a computer to all use MSN Desktop Search seperately. Only one user can install GDS per system. Finally, Osmer could not resist taking a dig at Google for their endless beta periods.
Some people release the beta for long periods of time. That's not our model. We want to have it in beta long enough to collect user feedback and make sure whatever we turn into the final meets certain criteria, but we want it to be as short as possible.


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