The MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search was officially launched today. The toolbar also includes a pop-up blocker and form fill functions to enhance the browsing experience. Users of MSN's line of services, such as Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces, will find one-click access within the product. To address some privacy concerns, you can control which files the software indexes and how often.
But are there enough reasons for me to switch from Copernic to MSN ? No, not yet.
1. MSN Desktop Search is only available on machines running Microsoft Windows XP/Server 2003/2000 & Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later. If you are a Firefox fan like me, stay away from it.
2. MSN added a preview pane similar to the one in Microsoft Outlook. This is a useful enhancement but according to SEW, Microsoft's preview is painfully sluggish compared to Yahoo's, to the point of being virtually unusable.
3. There is a toolbar everywhere. (See the image on the right) The suite includes three toolbars, one for Microsoft Outlook, a toolbar for Windows and Internet Explorer, and a toolbar for the Windows taskbar. Why not a standalone program ? I can't live without the Google Toolbar and installing another toolbar decreases my browser preview area further. Why would I want to look at a toolbar all the time even though I would use only 2% of my time.
4. MSN doesn't automatically index PDF files - Most of my official documentation is in PDF format but MSN requires you to download a separate plugin for indexing PDF files. I see some rivalry here. Microsoft is expected to release its own Metro document format which is being touted as Adobe's PDF killer. Maybe that could be the reason for Microsoft not adding native support for PDF in their search suite. When MSN DS can index 200 file types, why not 201 ?
5. Microsoft plays some hide n' seek - One of the non-public betas reviewed by PCMag actually added tabbed browsing to IE, a useful feature that has, unfortunately, been held back for further security testing. Hopes dashed.
6. Can I search for files in any language? - Not yet. MSN Toolbar Suite and Deskbar Search supportU.S. English only.
7. Do I really need MS Desktop Search ? No, It's already there.