MSN Desktop Search

I can barely keep up! On Monday, MSN announced the beta of their Desktop search toolbar. At first glance it appears to be the re-branded version of Lookout, the desktop search tool that was purchased back in July. MSN is calling it a "suite" which kind of goes against the popular thinking of these tools as a unified, all-in-one, search utility.

A couple of comments after playing around with it:

– it doesn’t support indexing of .pst files. Although there is a file tree in which you can specify folders you want included in the crawl, for some reason the default folder where the Outlook Archive files are stored is hidden.
– it doesn’t index the browser cache – a feature that freaked a lot of people out at first when Google Desktop Search launched but was later appreciated. Bonus points to the first Mircrosoft competitor  (Google or Yahoo) that adds Firefox cache to the index crawl.
– it doesn’t allow you to drill down to exclude specific Outlook folders from the crawl. This is a problem for anyone using add-ins such as SpamBayes to manage their junk mail. You certainly don’t want junk mail in a search index.
– reading through the comments on the MSN Search blog, Scoble mentions that that the Lookout code was completely re-written from scratch. I wonder what they changed?

My main nit is that now they’ve integrated search results under the Microsoft umbrella, it would be great to add drag and drop so that you can pull things out of the results window into specific folders either in Outlook or the File Manager.

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