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Microsoft

Microsoft's Upcoming Desktop Search Tool 293

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we-can-do-it-too dept.
Back in July, Microsoft purchased a company called Lookout who made a tool that allowed users of Outlook 2000+ to search through their email at greater speed and accuracy to the standard Outlook search tool. Since Microsoft acquired Lookout, the MSN team have been steadily working on Desktop Search and web search technologies. Google announced their own Desktop Search technology recently; the tool is fast but is limited in capabilities.The MSN Toolbar Suite integrates directly throughout the OS and varies according to where you're searching from. For example, if you're searching from within Windows Explorer you will search on your PC, in IE on the web and in Outlook the toolbar searches within Outlook. The bottom line : like the new online search, Microsoft have made a very good effort to get back in the game.
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Microsoft's Upcoming Desktop Search Tool

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  • Spotlight anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) * on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:12PM (#10813340) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like Apple's Spotlight [apple.com] technology. (Developer article here [apple.com]) Funny, at the Macworld when it was announced, one of Apple's banners at the expo [blogintosh.com] read "Redmond, start your photocopiers."

    • The Bottom Line (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bersl2 (689221)
      Like the new online search, Microsoft have made a very good effort to get back in the game.

      By buying a company. How like them.
      • Re:The Bottom Line (Score:5, Informative)

        by djdavetrouble (442175) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:47PM (#10813573) Homepage
        By buying a company. How like them.
        Um most big corporations expand through acquisition. Apple did it too, see itunes, logic audio, shake.
        • Re:The Bottom Line (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spongman (182339)
          you forgot OS X
    • Apple's Spotlight isn't technology, it's a software product. The technology itself is various indexing, search, and user interface techniques that have been around for many years.
    • Re:Spotlight anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by killjoe (766577)
      Another sign read "Introducing longhorn" with the Mac logo on it. I thought it was funny then but now I see it was prophetic.

      As usual MS is using apple as an R&D dept. As usual Apple will beat them to the punch.

      What I want to know is how MS developers sleep at night.
    • by Dominatus (796241)
      Is this a joke?

      Microsoft announced this idea several *years* ago, as part of Longhorn. While they haven't delivered yet, because well...Longhorn hasn't delivered yet, the idea was still there, and Apple most certainly didn't have Spotlight before that. Furthermore, MS even had the idea of virtual folders that would contain search results, which I hear is also a feature of Spotlight.
  • Integrates? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DamienNightbane (768702) * on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:14PM (#10813348)
    So what they're saying, is that when it comes installed in with Longhorn, we can't uninstall it?
  • by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:15PM (#10813354)
    The MSN Toolbar Suite integrates directly throughout the OS...

    Didn't Internet Explorer teach them that integrating something that connects to the web, like this, into the OS is bad? I'm just waiting for a security hole to pop up and leave even more reason to bash Windows security.

    Well, atleast this is optional, unlike IE.
    • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:26PM (#10813436) Homepage
      I think they learned a lot from bundling internet explorer. They learned that if they tie some specialty app into the OS, bundle it with every Microsoft product, and require people to use it to get MS proprietary content, they can go from a niche player to 95% market share in a couple of years. That tactic worked for IE, worked for Outlook Express, worked for Windows Media Player, it's starting to work for MSN messenger, and it'll probably work for their new search tool, too.
    • by banuk (148382)
      It probably won't be optional in Longhorn, which of course will delay that even further my bet is July 2010
    • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:31PM (#10813471) Homepage
      Didn't Internet Explorer teach them that integrating something that connects to the web, like this, into the OS is bad?

      Well, their single major competitor of the time is dead, many people are unaware web browsers other than Internet Explorer exist, and there were no negative side-effects of any sort for Microsoft other than an utterly insignificant "settlement" fee with the Bush administration. It seems to me IE would have taught Microsoft that integrating something that connects to the web into the OS is.. well.. good.

      I'm just waiting for a security hole to pop up and leave even more reason to bash Windows security.

      Is this what you were referring to as far as why this would be "bad"? Because I don't see this as a bad thing for Microsoft. The security disaster that has been Microsoft's products in the last few years has yet to produce any significant negative repercussions I can see for Microsoft. Further security disasters in Microsoft products likely will turn out just the same; bad for Microsoft's customers, neither good nor bad for Microsoft.

      Well, atleast this is optional, unlike IE.

      How long will that last, I wonder?
    • Any of the 'side effects' are much smaller then the ability for it to increase market share and push out the competition .. Most people just use what came on their pc.
  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrisgeleven (514645) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:15PM (#10813357) Homepage
    At least Google has announced that it is going to make the effort to get its desktop search to support Firefox, Thunderbird, and maybe other third-party products.

    I would be very surprised if Microsoft makes this work with anything other then their products.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Funny)

      by MrDomino (799876) <mrdomino@gma i l . c om> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:27PM (#10813444) Homepage
      I would be very surprised if Microsoft makes this work with their products.
    • I would be very surprised if Microsoft makes this work with anything other then their products.

      This is just a defensive move by Microsoft. They are responding to initiatives from non-Microsoft groups because they don't like the non-Microsoft groups to have relationships with customers that don't require Microsoft. So they work this defensive Me Too strategy short term.

      Long term, Microsoft needs to get the customers to buy LongHorn and OfficeHorn and Otherhorn products.

      The LongHorn timeframe

  • I can't wait for the next generation of viruses which will spawn from this. Is this a recipe for disaster or what:

    1. Microserfs coding quickly to catch up and add a new feature to the OS
    2. Said code is meant to find everything on your computer
    3. Said code is hooked into the OS like IE.

    Just as well. I was tired of hearing about new IE exploits every day. This should break up the monotony.

    HBH
    • by caseydk (203763) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:23PM (#10813421) Homepage Journal

      Good call.

      I can't wait until some compromise comes along and then uses this search tool to *make sure* it finds the right files to send to 3rd parties...
    • Exactly. If this search feature is as insecure as IE and Outlook, I can easily forsee crackers taking advantage of this. Oh boy, I can see the usages of this now. Just a script away from stealing the boss's documents and spreadsheets. Wonder who's getting a raise this month? Or, I can grab some e-mail messages from Outlook. This combination of IE + Outlook + new search tool = a cracker's wet dream.

      Come on Microsoft, not only is it not enough to get malware and worms through your browser and e-mail, b

    • Well, there's already search functionality present in Windows 2k and XP - that's not been exploited (afaik). Also, what's to prevent a virus writer from just doing a brute-force scan of the hard drive anyway?
      • Well, there's already search functionality present in Windows 2k and XP - that's not been exploited (afaik). Also, what's to prevent a virus writer from just doing a brute-force scan of the hard drive anyway?

        There is existing search functionality, but you have to have to already own the machine before you can use it, because it only does local searches. On the other hand, this proposed new system connects to the internet for searches as well, which may mean there are nice big exploitable holes - there s
    • I can't wait for the next generation of viruses which will spawn from this. Is this a recipe for disaster or what:

      Who said anything about viruses, looks more like Microsoft is now designing in a new system to help script kiddies locate the pr0n and warez on your hard drive. I think this is a great step forward for Microsoft on security concerns. Really, how many CPU cycles were wasted, how much senseless disk churning was there, on all those owned machines? With this tools script kiddies can get a comp
  • $ grep -R $TARGET /
  • by JessLeah (625838) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:18PM (#10813377)
    I mean, lots of people jokingly refer to "Outlook" as "LookOut" (i.e. for viruses/etc.)? There is actually a company/product called "Lookout" for Outlook?

    Also-- to the people who are pointing out (and/or will point out) that this sounds like Apple's "Spotlight" tech... I personally loathe Microsoft, but I DO recall them speaking about making the entire filesystem one big relational database (and I recall the mixed reactions among the /. crowd)... Why would they make the filesystem a database if it weren't to allow searching the whole system in some organized manner? And MS was talking about this stuff LONG before I ever heard of Spotlight... Maybe for once (well, excepting pre-emptive multitasking or true multi-user systems, which Apple was talking about for far too long until Jobs kicked their butts and spurred the creation of OS X at long last) MS got to something before Apple?

    Of course, this being Microsoft, they probably took the idea from someone else first ;)
    • As far as I can tell Oracle was the first company to offer a file system on top a database. Be was working something like it too. MS as usual staterted their vaporware campaign years before they had any clue how to go about it.

      Apple implemented by not using a relational database which was pretty smart.

      Oh and lest I forget. As usual the open source beats everybody to punch with reiser.
      • I know Reiser 4 is capable of it, but has the indexing and searching actually been implemented yet? Also, I haven't heard of any userspace search tools (except Beagle [gnome.org], which doesn't appear to use Reiser 4, and is at 0.0.2 anyway!). So am I living under a rock, or has Open Source not actually won yet?
    • Also-- to the people who are pointing out (and/or will point out) that this sounds like Apple's "Spotlight" tech... I personally loathe Microsoft, but I DO recall them speaking about making the entire filesystem one big relational database
      [...]
      Of course, this being Microsoft, they probably took the idea from someone else first ;)

      Indeed they did. The IBM AS/400 minicomputer has had a database filesystem years before even a usable version of Windows existed (let alone NT).

  • Portal wars again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deal-a-Neil (166508) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:20PM (#10813391) Homepage Journal
    Remember back in the dotcom hayday, everyone and their brother was rushing out to make a new portal? You know, the all-in-one start page for the browser -- stock quotes, weather, sports scores, yadda-yadda. I think it was an attempt to clone the (then) success of AOL. Search engine firms became media companies. Now, these media companies are trying to get back into the search engine fray.

    Why? Because the ad dollars that were once banner impressions from billions of page impressions, are now far cheaper than they were back then (revenues are down from them), and now pay-per-click revenues are super-duper high. Remember, this isn't about making software for the greater good of man, these companies are in it to win it.

    So anyway, here we are again. Searching your desktop. Web based mail. Yesterday's AOL is today's Google. Personally, a lot of these tools are overhyped, in my opinion. I really hope that these companies have more forward looking people, instead of just sideways looking (i.e. at competition). Because when contextual text-based ads start losing their value, it'll just happen all over again, and we may be talking about the search engine wars the same way we look back at the portal wars.
  • What game? (Score:5, Funny)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:20PM (#10813393)

    .

    like the new online search, Microsoft have made a very good effort to get back in the game.

    What game is that?

    Follow The Innovator?

  • by Hiigara (649950) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:21PM (#10813405)
    Sure they are still a monopoly but competition is competition. The only way Microsoft can really dethrone google is if they come out with a better internet search engine. If we get a improved system and outlook search, all the better. I really hope that this gives Linux the kick in the pants it needs for someone to come up with better system search solutions. Find is absolutely terrible in my humble opinion, especially it's tendency to freeze up when you stop a search. Lack of metadata search makes baby Linus cry. Bring me browser wars! Bring me os wars! Bring me search wars! These are the only kind of conflicts in which the consumer benefits, so we might as well encourage them!
  • by bergeron76 (176351) * on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:24PM (#10813424)
    It sounds like MSFT are on the defensive, rather than the offensive.

    Although now that I think about it, they never really innovated anyway - so I guess they were never truly on the offensive.
  • by bogie (31020) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:24PM (#10813427) Journal
    ...by buying other companies. Microsoft talks a lot about "their" innovations yet if you look at who they bought over the last 10 years its obvious that almost everything they put out is someone else's product.

    btw before you think I'm just some MS hater I guess I should state I'm not against the practice nor Microsoft's products in general. If the end result is a good product then who cares how it was made. Just wanted to point out that its a bit ironic that people expect brand new innovative products from the ground up from OSS yet don't give a single thought to the fact that almost everything MS puts out wasn't developed in-house at first and they rely almost soley on outsiders for many of their innovations and ideas.
    • ...almost everything MS puts out wasn't developed in-house at first and they rely almost soley on outsiders for many of their innovations and ideas.

      Hence the comparison to the Borg [wikipedia.org] from Star Trek and the topic icon here on Slashdot.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:24PM (#10813428) Journal
    IIRC, MS had been chattering about a deep level search function for "the next OS" since Win 95, called WinFS. It was finally supposed to be in Longhorn, but it was ditched about a couple months ago (According to an article here on Slashdot). [slashdot.org]

    Perhaps they dumped WinFS, previously known as 'NT Object Filing System', because this will do most of what it did with less of a hassle in programming and backward compatibility?

    And - where is the role of metadata in all of this?

    RS

  • by chiphart (791140) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:26PM (#10813431) Homepage
    With the OS, Outlook, and searching integrated, I forsee entire personal mailboxes being accidentally searchable by the rest of the world. The best part will be that's it'll the default configuration.
  • I, for one... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vicsun (812730) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:26PM (#10813437)
    cheer microsoft on their bold attempt, as frankly Google Desktop Search blows. Before I get modded -1, troll, let me say I am a big fan of google. I'm just unhappy with google's take on what a desktop search should be.
    Let me count the ways in which GDS annoys me:

    0. Lack of support for programs I use (Firefox support? Pretty please?)

    1. When a a folder has the same name as my search term, google search will display *all* files within that folder. For example if I search for 'doom 3' it won't just list the files called 'doom 3' it will list *all* the files in the doom 3 folder. It would be much more useful if it would only display the folder once as a separate search result, and then only display files called 'doom 3'

    2. Inability to only search for filenames *only* - sometimes, or actually most of the time, I want to find a specific file. I know I have created important.doc but when I search for 'important' I get a plethora of results featuring different documents / text files which have the word 'important' within them. Windows' search has done this nicely by giving me the ability to search for a 'all or a part of the filename' and for 'a word or a phrase within the file'. I also have the option to 'look in' which brings me to my next point

    3. Inability to search within a folder - because sometimes it is extremely useful to look for *.mp3 in my very disorganized 'thereShouldBeNoMusicHere' folder. Or to look for anything at all in a drive different than C...

    4. Wildcard searches - oftentimes I just can't remember how I've saved the file. Was my presentation called group4project.ppt or group4.ppt or G4.ppt? A simple search of *4*.ppt should find the file, where * is a wildcard. Currently I can't do that.

    5. No automatic unindexing. I just moved 3000 files from my desktop to another folder. Now whenever I search for any of those files I get two results, one of them pointing to a non-existing location. There's no way in hell I'm removing 3000 files from the index manually, ten at a time.

    The generic search that comes with Windows does a much better job, IMHO. I hope they improve on GDS in the future, because I'd like to googlize my computer some more.
    • Re:I, for one... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nuskrad (740518)
      Does 'Beta' mean anything to you? If people want these features, and make them know, they'll be added.
      • Does 'Beta' mean anything to you? If people want these features, and make them know, they'll be added.

        I know what "Beta" means to Google at least: "an indefinite state for a product as an excuse for not fulfilling everyone's expectations". :-)
    • Re:I, for one... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      You're not alone in being unimpressed by their software. With Google's tradition of implementing amazing new technologies (like the shocker 1 GB free mail now with POP3 support) and their search engine itself, GDS just gave a big "huh?" from me. It's barely even usable and as far as I can see, both X1 and Copernic is much better. What was the deal about only Microsoft formats? Why didn't they make GDS support the formats we wish to support via a plugin architecture?

      And it's of course very strange and incon
    • No kidding. One of my key searches is "somewhere in this directory is a piece of code for a variable which is a very common word otherwise".

      I think the idea was that Google is so fast you don't need to limit searches to a single directory. In fact I gather that long-term the goal is to eliminate the hierarchical file structure entirely and replace it with searching. At least I think that's Macintosh's goal. There's a lot to be said for eliminating the effort of a priori categorization, but even if it w
    • 0. Lack of support for programs I use (Firefox support? Pretty please?)

      What do you mean by lack of support? I use google search on firefox all of the time. Just enter the appropriate URL into it (then bookmark it).
    • Re:I, for one... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ortholattice (175065)
      For searching file names I gave up waiting for Microsoft's animated dog long ago. (I haven't tried the Google thing.) I use 'locate' under Cygwin, and it's essentially instant.

      4. Wildcard searches - oftentimes I just can't remember how I've saved the file. Was my presentation called group4project.ppt or group4.ppt or G4.ppt? A simple search of *4*.ppt should find the file, where * is a wildcard. Currently I can't do that.

      Cygwin: locate -i *g*4*.ppt

      5. No automatic unindexing. I just moved 3000 f

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:31PM (#10813469) Journal
    I would be extremely surprised if Microsoft would support those, and just make thier desktop search support their own godforsaken applications.

    I wonder if there is any off-line search engine like X1, Copernic, or that one, for Windows that support search plugins via some kind of API. So a developer can add e.g. mp3 ID3 tag search, DVD metadata search and other things like that. If MS is going where I think they're going, they'll just drown in the bunch of desktop search engines with nothing new to offer. I can't see why not even Google was thinking of this when they designed theirs. Right, we're supposed to wait for a single company to let me search for what I want efficiently? That feels so... err, stone age.

    A feature like that would be great and certainly an idea for Mozilla.org as an upcoming open source project -- read another article here that they were looking into this area.
    • Well. MS Indexing Service already DOES index mp3 tags. As well as other items in any active x doc (read MS Word, HTML (any META), etc). SDK is available. To get an idea what it indexes, look at the properties of a file->Summary tab. There's Author, Comments fields usually. MP3 files will contain ID3 tags.
      Integration with the OS is very-very poor. They attempted to integrate it with winxp, but it's very sloppy, and actually just doesn't work. The only way to search is to go to Indexing Service control pan
    • I wonder if there is any off-line search engine like X1, Copernic, or that one, for Windows that support search plugins via some kind of API. So a developer can add e.g. mp3 ID3 tag search, DVD metadata search and other things like that.

      Well, it isn't for Windows, but Apple's Spotlight [apple.com], which will be part of the OS X update released early next year, will feature exactly that.
  • Lookout (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spudley (171066) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:37PM (#10813505) Homepage Journal
    "Lookout"...

    Isn't that the name of their email client? ...

    Ah... no - it's just what I call it.
  • I've been running both for a while now. Some observations:

    Google Desktop supports Unicode which is invaluable if you use non-ASCII languages, like my wife does. YMMV. However the Google Desktop search is not integrated into the Outlook shell (understandably) nor the Google Deskbar, which I think is an obvious oversight - and suggested as much to Google.

    Lookout allows you to index mapped drive letters or network locations, which Google Desktop doesn't. This is great for me where I have documents on a l
  • i don't get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thepoch (698396) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:43PM (#10813548)
    i don't get it. what's up with search being the "holy grail" of computing? kindly explain this to me. is everyone really this disorganized that everyone has to search for their own files now?

    if everyone really wants to be able to search their stuff, it might be better to do away with files for documents completely. why not just make a real database (not fs database like winfs or whatever other bullshit they were thinking), where all documents, presentations, spreadsheets, are inputted into a real sql database as xml? maybe allow each application to create their own "database" with their own "table" with their own specific fields. then allow all these to be searchable by whatever search engine can be integrated with whatever desktop interface you may have. let's do away with files completely if people just keep on losing them, and have to search for them.

    actually from reading what i just typed, it sounds like how a palm works. each app has their own searchable resource files. i don't really know how that will work with the stuff people type though. and images are another issue. most of the time, i find organizing pictures the toughest. documents are easy to categorize, but pictures, that's really a tough one.
    • i don't get it. what's up with search being the "holy grail" of computing? kindly explain this to me. is everyone really this disorganized that everyone has to search for their own files now?

      YES!

      The average computer user saves their files in whichever directory the save-file prompt defaults to.

      Its like an office where, as soon as you are done with a peice of paper, you drop it.

      The solution is not spending 15 minutes to teaching organization (e.i. how to use directories and files) but to hire

    • It's not because people lose things, it's because they don't always want to have them organized in the same way. I, for example, tend to organize my files by type (Pictures, Music, Movies, etc.). But what happens when I'm working on some particular project that has some pictures, music, text files, source code -- whatever -- associated with it? Do I leave the files for that project strewn about in the normal folders, or do I put them all together and then have to look all over my hard drive next time I w
  • The bottom line : like the new online search, Microsoft have made a very good effort to get back in the game.

    Considering how their beta search is keeping up now, they should be working a bit harder. But that's not the point. Thing is, I don't really like the parts of the stories which sound like "Then, on a sunny day's morning when our stock began to rise, Microsoft bought up some solution and suddenly became our competitor. That's when we started loosing grip."

    In spite of this, I really think this wil
    • In spite of this, I really think this will turn out to be something good. Good competition will never hurt us (i.e. users).
      Since when was Microsoft a good competitor? (I'm not trying to troll, it's just I seem to still see the same "win-it-all" attitude that got them into their antitrust lawsuits with the US DOJ and the EU.)
  • As it is, I wouldn't trust any company (including Google) with total spidering access to my local files, if there is any kind of a link out to the Internet. Here for the first time you are bridging your entire local contents with the greater "marketing" Internet out there.

    And on top of it, Microsoft has shown us that they feel things that we know should be user level applications are instead hooked right into parts of the OS. I would definitely not install something like this, I think there would be too ma
  • the marriage of the hackable and porous OutLook with a technique for rapidly indexing desktop contents will eventually produce an exploit that lets a hacker find things on your computer by remote control of some fashion.
  • by pldms (136522)
    IIRC Lookout uses Lucene [apache.org] (or, more accurately) the .net port), so I guess this is a victory for free software,

    It's also worth looking at Beagle [gnome.org], a similar project for Gnome using lucene.

    Congratulations to the Lucene developers. Taking over the desktop :-)
  • Desktop Search (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wviperw (706068) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:58PM (#10813619) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who doesn't get the point of this new-fangled "Desktop Search" idea? I mean, I tried installing the Google Desktop Search for awhile, but I never actually used it. In fact, I couldn't even think of a use for it. Unless you're hard drive is completely unorganized, or you're on a multi-user computer, I don't see the point of searching for things you should already know you have.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I used Lookout for several months and was so relieved by its search speed compared to native Outlook, although the Lookout index was often outdated. Then I discovered Copernic Desktop Search (www.copernic.com), which is free, instantly updates the index, and provides more options for indexing and searching all of my files and content. I've used CDS for about 2 months now and am extremely happy with it. I've seen X1, but it costs $$ and doesn't seem to offer anything Copernic doesn't. I don't trust Googl
  • File search programs are handy if you *rougly* know the name of the file or what is stored in the file. I think someone should re-think the way computer information is organized in the first place. Traditionally, we store every thing in Folders and Subfolders. There should be a better way to do this - or at least make it more convienient to browse multiple subfolders in Windows so as not to need programs to search for files. Its over-kill to have a program on the desktop to search data on the web when all
  • I don't want another toolbar! My screen real estate is too valuable and my boot times are too slow already.

    All I need is the ability to find text within all of my Microsoft Office Files quickly and accurately. It's a PITA to have to dig through hundreds of documents to look up a simple fact buried inside one of hundreds of spreadsheets.

    At work I often have projects that require several different types of documents (i.e. a spreadsheet of names/addresses, several documents as handouts, a slide show for meet

  • It's good to see Microsoft playing, "me too" instead of spinning FUD. I remember the days when MS would announce a vaporware technology just so they could stave off competition and play catchup to avoid any loss of market share. However, it looks like MS has slipped a bit and is now playing the "me too" game.

    It's really sad that MS should have to do this when they have for all practical purposes an infinite R&D budget. Somone should tell MS that creating a "good" search tool infrastructure with
  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:28PM (#10813762)
    When Microsoft decides it's time to compete they always have the same MO:

    1) Buy a company that is already doing it and doing it fairly well.

    2) Rapidly make "improvements" to the software (including whatever adjustments necessary so that it only works well with other Microsoft products) without focusing on security issues.

    3) Release it, giving it away for free if necessary.

    4) Continue to update and improve it while you drive the competition out of the market.

    4) Integrate it into the next version of Windows (again ignoring any potential security issues) to put a final stake in the heart of your competition.

    5) Once the competition is gone, move the developers on to something else.

    I don't care how good their desktop search product becomes; nobody who uses Windows should ever use it. It'll be crap when it's first released but get better and better. Eventually it will probably be better than the offerings from other companies but have no illusions. If Microsoft is able to gain market dominance, they'll stop working on the product. Of course, by that time it'll be integrated into the OS and there will be a whole host of security vulnerabilities just waiting to be exploited by the script kiddies.

    We've been through this before with Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, etc.
  • by jdkane (588293) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:48PM (#10813848)
    This is something I don't fully understand: Microsoft buys a company named Lookout because it creates a software tool that searches through MS Outlook (2000+) better than Microsoft currently does with the built-in tool. Fair enough. However MS created the source code for Outlook and the Lookout company did not have access to it. Doesn't it stand to reason that MS should just go back, dust off the source code and improve it almost feature-for-feature (or even better) with the competing product rather than buying that entire company?

    I understand if licensing or patents are involved because then MS would want to own them now instead of geting into trouble later. (Indeed, one of the story links indicate patents are involved: It seems that Lookout already has some patents on desktop search technology. Microsoft's work was independetly developed. They are just protecting their back from patent litigations.)

    Also, if MS buys the company then there's less similar competition in the future (the small company already proved it could out-Microsoft Microsoft).

    In these cases it wouldn't be about the technology at all.

  • And, as is usual... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@hotmai l . c om> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:25PM (#10814011) Homepage Journal
    GUIs are playing catch-up again. "locate" has been around on Unix platforms for, what, 20 or 30 years? And, it does wildcard searches for filenames, ready to jam into grep for content search.

    Content could be indexed, but its a bit project specific (so us Unix heads only do it on specific projects, right?).

    For the un-initiated, a process runs (typically once a day), and indexes all filenames on your system. You can then get instant answers to "Show me all Microsoft Word documents on my system"

    file `locate *.doc` | grep Microsoft

    and many other queries. This stuff is PLAIN ORDINARY UNIX/LINUX. Ah well, doesn't help the completely casual user. You know, "If the option isn't clearly presented, it can't possibly be done -- or I just don't want to bother".

    More power to 'em, them -- but people PLEASE don't ask when this will be ported to Linux/Unix!

    Ratboy.
  • Unlike WinFS, this doesn't sound all that different from what can be done in Panther today.

    ...varies according to where you're searching from.

    I've already got near instantaneous searching in iTunes, iCal, Mail and the Finder. Safari already has an integrated Google search box. How Spotlight/WinFS is/was supposed to be different is/was quick full-text and metadata searching (IIRC). It didn't explicitly say anything in the Neowin article, but I got the impression that this suite won't do it.

    ...integrates

  • is this the reason that XP's built-in search sucks so much? Explorer refuses to search through non-associated file types. Can anyone tell me why this is, what has changed since Win 2k, and how to restore the functionality without requiring third-party tools (or telling me to switch to Linux or OS X since this is a work machine)?
  • Folks, ZOË [zoe.nu] has been doing a fantastic job of email archiving and searching for some time now. Check it out... it's open source and totally cross platform and will happily co-exist with whatever email client you are already using.

    It's such a great system, that it's not uncommon to see comments on the mailing list from users who keep 10's of thousands of emails in ZOË without any problems. I, personally, have email going back to 1995 in ZOË and have back burner plans to copy my old Tapcis e

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