Scott Hanselman

The Desktop Search battle continues - yawn? Inside MSN Desktop Search

December 14, '04 Comments [2] Posted in Programming | Tools
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PerfmonsearchWell, I'm deep into the MSN Desktop Search. It's apparently more appropriate to refer to it as the "MSN Toolbar Suite."

Sriram Krishnan has even more technical forensic details on how Google Desktop Search works, but here's what I've gleaned about MSN Desktop Search.

  • The footprint is about 5 megs installed - this changes after you index,
  • The search is per user and everything is in "C:\documents and settings\[username]\local settings\application data\msn toolbar suite\"
    • There's lots of temp files with "Microsoft Search Gatherer Transaction Log. Format Version 4.9" inside them.
  • There's an interesting video with the team up on Channel 9.
  • They don't index your whole harddrive by default - they start with the "My*" files and Outlook* Applications.
  • They are using Microsoft Indexing IFilters - This makes me wonder if I should go download a bunch of new IFilters to get better searching.
  • They index MP3s and Music...
  • When you search, the UI lives in Explorer or Internet Explorer. They've got their own namespace.
  • There are a CRAPLOAD of Perfmon Counters added under "RS Search*" in Perfmon.

MSN Desktop Search vs. Google Desktop Search

MSN: Toolbar pointing you to msn.com
Google: Toolbar pointing you to google.com

MSN: Interface is very shiny and Windowsy and lives in Explorer
Google: Interface is very plain and HTMLy and lives in any browser

MSN: Indexes any IFilter-able thing ala Index Server (this has potential)
Google: Indexes Outlook and a number of text files. (has a hacked .NET plugin API)

MSN: Type-ahead autocomplete ala X1.com
Google: Nope, but I suspect it's coming very soon...

Winner (for now): The user, as now two large companies realize it's hard to find files on your hard drive!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004 5:28:25 PM UTC
Beyond a (much) nicer UI and more IFilters, do these things really do any more than the Index Server built into Windows? Did MS really create a whole new indexing service, parallel to IS?
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 7:17:10 PM UTC
Amazing how popular the watercolor theme is!
Dan
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.