The MSN network of Internet services has launched the new MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search, a suite of tools that helps users search across the Web or their PC and provides access to MSN services.
The final version of the MSN Search Toolbar includes free enhancements for Windows 2000 and Windows XP customers, providing a upgraded desktop search resource. MSN says that these new innovations for Windows customers will make it easier to find and retrieve documents, e-mail, images, video and more on Windows-based personal computers.
The MSN Search Toolbar, available for free download enables users to search their Windows-based computers from within familiar applications including Microsoft Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office Outlook
The Windows Desktop Search can search more than 200 file types on a Windows-based PC including Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail files; Outlook Contacts or Calendar files; multimedia files; Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 files; MP3, GIF and JPEG files; Adobe or .PDF files; and more. It also searches e-mail attachments.
A preview pane provides summaries for each search result, allowing people to preview the contents directly from the desktop search view and drag and drop files into other applications. People can open files in their associated application directly from desktop search results, as well as quickly initiate actions such as managing, sharing, deleting or playing files.
The software provides the ability to users to select what information gets indexed and the types of files that are searched, including Outlook folders. The platform provides a plug-in architecture and download third-party filters can be downloaded from the MSN website to extend the variety of file types that can be indexed and searched.
In addition to the search capability, the MSN Search Toolbar includes a Pop-up Blocker, Form Fill and a highlighting feature that color-codes search keywords on a results page and helps people locate the information they want via thumbnail windows.
MSN promises to introduce an integrated Tabbed Browsing feature in the coming months. It also promised to release a desktop search offering, built on Windows Desktop Search, for the corporate environment. Scheduled to be available in beta form by the end of the calendar year, the offering will enable corporations to give employees fast searching capabilities across their PC, with plentiful customization options.