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May
15

Final release of the product formally known as MSN Toolbar Suite with Desktop Search

It now prefers to be called the “MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search”.  Respect!  

 

Getting this release out has been a crazy 11 months for our Silicon Valley & Redmond based team.  Here is what I remember (I’ll admit some of it is a bit blurry…):

  • 1 “lost” suitcase (recovered!)
  • 1 baby born
  • 2 marriages (not related to the 1 birth)
  • 3 power outages on milestone days
  • 5 weeks in Redmond to help the team up north
  • 8 new team members

I could go on for a quite a while, but needless to say one of the highlights for the entire team has been the tremendous feedback and community around the product.  From easy changes (not so many butterflies in the deskbar) to hard ones (rich previews are tricky!) we were able to make a great product because of the detailed feedback and bug reports we received.  I’m really stoked we were able to deliver the outlook folder picker, the updated deskbar UI and the overall quality improvements requested – supa suhweet!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our users inside the company (dogfood rocks!) and on the outside (bloggers, beta testers, family & friends, and more).  While I’ve failed at being a regular blogger, I hope the following will make up for it…a quick preview of two things we are working on right now:

  1. Tabs in MSN Search Toolbar for Internet Explorer: This was leaked a while ago but we haven't commented because our plan to release it is still coming together but it’ll be out soon.
  2. Corporate Desktop Search: Desktop Search (and specifically email search) has become indispensable and we are working on a version that supports deployment and use in the corporate IT environment.

Well enough yap from my trap….please download the final release, use it, and share your comments here on or via our feedback form!

 

- Bubba Murarka, Program Manager (and math geek)

Comments

  • The feedback form isn't working right now so I'll post this here. This is a cut/paste job from the newsgroup, I hope it makes sense.

    ---start---
    I'll go over this again just in case one of the devs read this newsgroup.

    Please fix this soon!


    It's in 2 parts.....

    1) If you have a file on your system that has an underscore somewhere in the
    filename, the desktop search can't see whatever comes immediately after the
    underscore.

    Example;

    I have a file called msn_messenger.txt

    I search for "msn" and MSN DS finds the file and shows me it in the results
    pane.

    I search for "messenger" and MSN DS *can't* find it.


    This is a 'showstopper' for me, I can't use this software if it can't do the
    one thing it's supposed to do - find my files!




    2) One more thing. MSN DS *can't* find parts of filenames. In order to find
    a file with "messenger" in the filename - using "messenger" as my search word
    - I have to start typing M-E-S-S....and so on to find it. In other words, I
    have to start typing at the beginning of the word. The thing is, sometimes
    files aren't named "nicely".

    Example; I download an image from the web (say a screenshot of the the new
    design of the MSN DS search window) and the person that created it named it
    "234254msn54.gif". (Yes I could rename it - but that's not the point! Stay
    with me!) I save the file to my "My Pictures" folder and go make some
    coffee. I come back and decide to use MSN DS to find the image. I remember
    that it had a bunch of numbers in the filename, but it also had "msn" in it -
    cool, I'll search for that..............uh oh.......MSN DS can't find the
    file!??! Wha...? Yeah that's right, MSN DS can't find the .gif file unless I
    start by typing 2-3-4....etc. The first, second and third parts of the
    filename.

    Am I the only person to find this slightly crazy? The MSN DS devs should
    take a good look at the way Copernic DS handles filenames. If I use Copernic
    DS to search for "msn" it'll find everything with the letters "msn", if the
    letters are in that sequence, no matter where "msn" appears in the filename.


    I had hoped that it'd be fixed for the final release but...... :-S
    ---end---
  • No support for XP64 x64 version
  • The Form-Fill gives you the option to enter a country other than the US. However, the telephone field is in US format only.
  • First of all - I really think that you should add support for finding .exe files.

    Anyways - another thing is - you need to release easy to use managed IFilter wrappers in c# and VB.Net including a specialized installer class. I think that this is a major plus that you have over google - the extensibility , With this type of wrapper avaliable - any body can add search to their programs - I could even index a searchable part of my database. Today I wanted to find everything that i had seen about the ASP.NET datagrid column - I remeber I had read something usefull on a blog a while ago - If the IFilter were easy to implement then I can see blog aggregators easily adding this feature. That would allow me to search my Email lists,Read Blogs,files,past history from one location etc...

    I can see many other scenerios where if it would be very usefull if a software vendor were able to ship IFilters for their product - I would be more then happy to allow my user to enter a vendor's name and have all of the vendors info come up including outlook contact and all recent orders etc...

    I looked into implementing an ifiltir for one of our apps - however I looked like a typical COM mess - so i dropped it. But if all had required was inheriting a C# class - I would have definnattly done it.
  • Which site is the offical one? There is http://toolbar.msn.com and http://desktop.msn.com. Also you might bring up http://addins.msn.com/.
  • Why aren't the beta users of MSN Toolbar with Desktop Search automatically updated to the final version? After all, this is why you have auto-update in the product.
  • Thanks Bubba for a great release!

    First off can you have the MSN Support people fix feedback/support forms? jmc777 case is not an isolated event, whenever you submit too much text or certain characters [i.e. <>], the form fails to submit. It would be nice if customers could actually use support tools! How about a http://feedback.msn.com/ subweb?

    I really like how you guys added the option to change what web search the toolbar uses. Although MSN Search is great, it's nice to give the user that control easily.

    I would have really liked those tabs implemented now, but I'll let you guys work all the bugs out first. MSN would certainly make the news then http://search.msn.com/news/results.aspx?q=%22msn+desktop+search%22.

    Press article: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/may05/05-16SmartSearchPR.asp

    For those who haven't met the team, watch the Redmond http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=32280 and Silicon Valley http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=32064 videos.

    @Matthew
  • Sweet! This build seriously rocks! I'll post more comments when I finish playing with all the new stuff. Also going to try and update my review of the beta build later this week.

    Thanks guys and kudos for delivering an app that will probably never leave my desktop now. :)
  • I have been using the beta for a couple of months now and have found it invaluable and will now update but is there any predicted date for release of a UK version of the tools (as far as I can see it's still US only). There obviously won't be much difference but it would be nice to use the UK search engine.
  • First of all thank you for improving the accessibility of this final release.
    The results now work correctly with screen-readers but still there are some things I need fixed:
    1. The Filter by Location box or whatever is called does not speak at all. I mean the box that says search in All Locations, in Files, in Outlook, etc.
    2. Some filter combinations should not be allowed like how come for example I can search in Files for only Attachments. Attachments are only found in Outlook. So there should be some restrictions applied to the type filter box, the one that says Attachments, e-mail, etc, when a location is chosen in the location filter box.
    3. The filter by type box or whatever is called does not speak as well. The one that allows you to filter results and says Attachments, Music, E-mail, etc.
    4. Tab and shift+tab do not work as opposites in the results window. I mean type a search term and then search for something. Then tab toward the results. If you accidentally go passed the result listbox and reach the address bar, shift+tab does not take you back to the search results listbox or the preview pane if enabled, as expected, but instead takes you back to the search box. Very annoying! It happens to me all the time. I search for something, press tab to go to the results and if I accidentally press tab one more time, I have to start pressing tab 7-8 times from the beginning again to reach the search results. It is incovenient especially if you have many results.
    5. When you hilight an Adobe PDF document in the results, Adobe 7 opens up taking focus away from the results window. I have to constantly have to reset focus back to the results window. This is bad especially if you have many PDF results to choose from and you constantly have to close Adobe 7 as it launches each time to hilight something.
    6. There should be an option to hide the messages belonging to a conversation. Eg. if I search for the words "final project" and there is only one thread of e-mails in Outlook with that subject, give me an option not to show all the e-mails of that thread but only the first one. To repeat, give us an option to show/hide messages that belong to the same conversation when they are all included in the search results.
    7. I want to be able to sort the search results by date, type, title, author, name, etc. Sighted users I guess can already do that. Not me. Please include the Arrange Items menu in the View menu of the search results. Like in My Computer / Windows Explorer. How could you have forgotten such a thing?
    8. The various buttons like Everything, Documents, E-mail, etc, that are provided in the serch results windows for filtering the results cannot be activated by pressing enter. To activate them you need to press spacebar. Please fix this. In many applications push buttons can be activated both using enter and spacebar. I know many people who will not use these filtering otpin simply because they will not be able to figure out how to activate them.
    I also have some more comments on consistency:
    1. The Look up word option in MSN Desktop Search searches for a definition in Encarta Dictionary, whilst on MSN Search web site (http://search.msn.com/) the whole web is searched if you type in a word and press Look up word, via the search term "define + your term". This is inconsistent behaviour. I hate it when MSN Services are inconsistent.
    2. MSN Deskbar allows you to search White pages / Yellow Pages, why not the MSN Search web site http://search.msn.com/?
    3. In MSN Deskbar you say Search Web, Search Encyclopedia. On the MSN Search web site it says search Encarta, not Encyclopedia which is more clear.
    Although the above are minor points they show how much thought is put into consistency at MSN.
  • The UI is really great. Nice job!
  • The UI is really great. Nice job!
  • The release now breaks the connector for Lotus Domino which used to work in the beta version. It says that this version of the connector is not supported!! Where is the one which is supported then?
  • Many thanks to the MNS Desktop team...I cannot tell you how profoundly this has changed the way I work!

    This is just great!

    Cheers
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