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Microsoft Exec Promises Early Version of Search Forthcoming

 1:47 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Story today in Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The system being developed by Microsoft's MSN online division "will, as far as the consumer is concerned, be an end-to-end system for searching across any data type," Yusuf Mehdi, head of Microsoft's MSN division, told analysts at a Goldman Sachs Internet conference in Las Vegas Wednesday.

Mehdi said Microsoft plans to release an early version of the technology soon, as part of the software giant's push to compete with Internet search leader Google Inc. A final version is expected in the next 12 months, he said.

Microsoft technology to search Web, PCs, e-mail [seattlepi.nwsource.com]



 3:09 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

wow...good find.

We got a date...12 months. Which means before June 2005. Knowing that the average debug time at microsoft is 9 months brings to us that the early release will be about 3 months from now :).

Good news. That msnbot is hitting everyone hard. Time to get something in return.

I also see in the same article that they are going to compete immediately with google pc file search. Which they have to do fast else google will take the market and people in that case are unlikely to change to MSN:

"I think it's fair to say that we will tackle all of the things that you expect, including PC search, as part of the MSN effort," Mehdi said.


Joe Wilcox, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said the end-to-end search technology illustrates how concerned Microsoft is with besting rivals including Google, the current Internet search favorite. He expects Google to also release technology soon for searching the desktop.

Its going to be a hot summer in search engine land :)


 8:19 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good find Marcia. I am fully expecting a release during my summer holiday - which will of course be typical.


 8:29 am on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I am finding interesting, is that the press is largely ignoring Yahoo! as a competitor for MS.

Yahoo! is a major competitor for MSN - both in the Search market and the protal side of things. Of course it is also a partner.

With respect to getting the local (as in PC based NTFS file searching) search technology out there on desktops, MS will simply release this and make it available via Windows Update. SO this means that the majority of PC owners will simply download it without having to make a real consious effort. Google won't have that advantage.

It can also be bundled with Office because lets face it, the majority of time you are searching (locally) for an office document you can't remember where you put it!

Or maybe that is just me.


 1:41 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It will certainly be a big launch, even if it is a "soft" launch, but I bet it comes with TV advertising. MSN have many different options open to them which will enable them to create a number of USPs. Some that I see include:

1) Ability to immediately built it into I.E. bringing it to almost every desktop in a single stroke.
2) Ability to personalise the results by habits since they can access and track every previous web page whether or not they use cookies if they want.
3) Ability to personalise by region without IP resolving because they can see the registration address location the Windows package being used.
4) Ability to integrate the system into Outlook Express
5) Ability to integrate into Word (and also use some gator type of thing in Word by the way...)



 5:22 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Reading the article, I wonder if it will bring MSNBot to our desktops! My guess is that in order to achieve this they will need a spider working on our PCs to enable quick recall of data from files.

Wonder what kind of security issues that will cause?


 3:51 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Currently MS has development occuring in a variety of different storage formats:
* Relational Database (SQL)
* Outlook Web Store (storage system for Exchange and SharePoint Portal Server)

I can see the SQL and OWS combining to use a single storage type that will support both relational and non-relational data types.

This is then a logical extension to push these type of storage technology out to the server and desktop market to replace NTFS. Which is what I believe Longhorn is meant to do.

So there will be a version of the MSNbot on the desktop but I think it will be more in tune with the technology that is currently seen in SharePoint Portal Server for searching document types. This technology did receive some good press when it came out. This will simply be an extension of the current search technology that MS has in XP, including allowing the fast indexing.


 9:47 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>fully expecting a release during my summer holiday - which will of course be typical.

Which would probably give them plenty of time to iron out a few kinks right in time for the busy holiday shopping season come fall. Wouldn't MSN Shopping be perfectly suited as a starting point.

Timing sounds about right, and then a 12 month timeframe for full release would put it all out there before the holiday shopping the following year. If they *can.* I seem to remember people waiting anxiously for the initial release of Windows 95 and lining up at stores to buy it the day it finally arrived.

A bit more from Reuters with some detail came through last evening, from that same conference on Wednesday:

"We will do an MSN search starting shortly with a beta and well before Longhorn ships, everything across local PC search, e-mail search, Web search, deep database search," Mehdi said at the same conference on Wednesday, referring to the test version of Microsoft's search technology due out later this year.

Mehdi said that search technology for the PC would appear well before the launch of the next version of Windows, although the details had yet to be worked out.

YAHOO and Microsoft detail search strategies [reuters.co.uk]

It's a fascinating concept, considering that web search is a hyperlinked environment and the others aren't.


 11:54 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mehdi said that search technology for the PC would appear well before the launch of the next version of Windows, although the details had yet to be worked out.

Ironically, Microsoft offers the ability to search for files within Windows, but Mehdi admitted that it could be done much faster and efficiently.

So it sounds like it won't be waiting for Longhorn then.


 11:56 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

And another story about this here [globetechnology.com]

Mr. Mehdi told the analysts that personalization is going to be an important part of Microsoft's search efforts.
The company hopes to soon have on its MSN website a system similar to Amazon.com's technology that will recognize a user even if that person hasn't expressly signed on to the website, he said.



 11:26 am on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Only one more year of Microsoft sizzle until the Microsoft bbq is ready! .... just one more year of hype and sizzle!

Assuming of course, that this will be the first Microsoft shipping date that isn't made of rubber.... just wait and see if they call it MSNsearch 2005


 12:17 pm on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Any takers on a date for this thing
my guess mid June for beta

I wonder if they will do similar to Y i.e. only some searches to some selected IP's with cookies loaded



 12:40 pm on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Until recently MSN bot was crawling about 10% of my pages per week. Two weeks ago it jumped to about 100%, and last week over 200%. Does this indicate anything? Is the MSN test search facility imminent?

I certainly hope so. The only results that show in SERPS for MSN and Yahoo is an old Inktomi PFI page. :(


 9:08 pm on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>similar to Y i.e. only some searches to some selected IP's with cookies loaded

Steve, I started getting Y results way back last fall, which can't be hard because they're my ISP and easily identifiable geographically, too. I spent every day comparing their SERPs with MSN, except for the occasional drift back to G results.

Harry, for sure they're building the index and we don't know that they aren't already doing some degree of beta testing. It wouldn't surprise me if companies do pre-testing with select groups of users with NDA's prior to any type of public release, even on a limited basis, for any number of things.

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