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Johanne Torres[December 14, 2004]

Microsoft Searches Your PC, Too


Microsoft finally unveiled its desktop search tool this week. The software giant closely follows Google’s mid-October similar release, the Google Search Desktop Beta. Microsoft’s new MSN Toolbar Suite Beta is integrated with the company’s Browser Toolbar set. Consumers will now be able to use this new tool to quickly find virtually any type of document, media file or e-mail message on their Windows-based PC. The integrated suite of tools finds and acts on information from PCs by combining the ease of a Web search with the richness and power of the PC environment.

"With MSN Toolbar Suite, consumers can now search their desktops from within the popular applications on their PCs," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for the MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform division at Microsoft. "By delivering fast, precise answers with familiar technology, Microsoft is taking desktop information discovery to a new level."

MSN Toolbar Suite Beta is available free in the United States at Microsoft’s Web site. The set of tools includes an updated version of the popular MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Internet Explorer and new toolbars that are conveniently accessible through Windows and Microsoft Office Outlook. The new toolbars include the MSN Deskbar for the Windows desktop, MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Office Outlook and MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Windows Explorer.

MSN Toolbar Suite Beta features include:

  • Quick, precise retrieval of desktop files. Consumers can quickly and easily search the thousands of files on their PCs, including Outlook Contacts or Calendar files, Adobe PDFs files, or Microsoft Office Word or PowerPoint files. As a result, consumers will save time and increase their productivity.
  • Information when and where it's needed. The MSN toolbars save time, allowing consumers to find precisely what they need with less effort, when and where they need it, with less effort and within seconds. The MSN toolbars are conveniently designed to work with Outlook, Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and the Windows desktop. The MSN Toolbars also give consumers quick access to MSN Messenger, MSN Hotmail and MSN Spaces, enabling them to initiate common communication tasks right from the bar, including e-mail, instant messaging and inserting URLs into Spaces blogs.
  • Familiar interfaces and useful results. Consumers can use desktop search when browsing files in Windows in a comfortable and familiar format, enabling them to open files in their associated application directly from their desktop search results and enabling quick access to actions such as managing, sharing, deleting or playing files.
  • New MSN Search service. MSN Toolbar Suite displays Web search results from the recently launched MSN Search Beta release, a new algorithmic search engine built by Microsoft and designed to help consumers find precisely the information they are looking for by providing more useful answers to their questions and more control over their search experience.
  • Privacy protection. The MSN Toolbar Suite is built on the current Windows security and privacy model, and respects the privacy of multiple users on a single PC by utilizing the Windows authentication and user account management infrastructure, helping to provide consumers with a better-protected and more private desktop searching experience.

The MSN Toolbar Suite beta was just made available in English in the United States. Microsoft plans to release the set of tools globally during 2005.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at


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