Wednesday, March 8

Microsoft Livens Up Competition with New Windows

Today, Microsoft released major upgrades to Windows Apparently, Microsoft wasn't all bluster last week when they were talking about major upgrades to search. You can read it from their perspective on the blog on MSN spaces. This also co-incides with their push to get Hotmail users to jump on board the Windows Live Mail beta, which I mentioned last night.

It is breaking on Read Write/Web, Scoble, and in mainstream media as well. The new Windows Live Search features new capabilities for image search, news search, RSS feeds, mail, local search and shopping. Ya, ya, ya, we know all that, its coming up to standard with Yahoo / Google, finally. Those aren't as interesting to me as some of the new UI features and cool new "Web 2.0" tools.

In addition to the standard fare, MS has rolled out some innovative UI features, such as an Ajaxy "Smart Scroll" that allows users to have an infinite scroll experience. Maybe 10 results won't be the major number anymore? Another innovation is the "slider bar," which controls the amount of content displayed for a given search result. Toggle it down and all you see is the title and url. Toggle it all the way up and you get a search box that says "Search this site:"

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Microsoft also announced it purchased Onfolio. Onfolio let's people clip and save text and links from the web. It sounds like a product that should be a part of the Yahoo MyWeb platform and the Yahoo toolbar. Interesting.

According to the Onfolio press release, dated yesterday, March 7:
Today at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced the acquisition of the assets of Onfolio Inc., a privately held, Cambridge, Mass.-based Internet research and information management provider. Onfolio's technology has been incorporated into the Windows Live™ Toolbar to enhance the way people discover, save and reuse their personal and professional Web research.
Apparently, things are running a bit behind schedule because the link in the press release is not Live yet. Sorry, the bad puns from some of my co-workers must be rubbing off. I was digging around Onfolio and and couldn't find the download link for the toolbar. Then I ran across this quote on Onfolio's download page saying that it will be available on the afternoon of March 8th. Looks like things slipped a little. Oops!

Update 3/15: The toolbar is now available for download. I've downloaded it, but haven't had a chance to try it out much, yet.

The other thing that caught my attention which no one seems to have made a big deal about yet is the featured reported by the Seattle Pi: "In addition, the company says Windows Live Search will offer the ability to quickly conduct a search within a limited set of a person’s favorite sites."

After reading the SE Watch article, this feature is search macros. According to Chris Sherman, "Macros are flexible, easy to create and share. As an example, you could create a Macro that searched for terms across a set of web sites that you specify, in effect, creating your own personalized vertical search tool." This looks like Microsoft's attack on Yahoo based Rolly-O, which I have discussed previously. Fascinating! In the hidden drop down (click the down arrow) after the "Feeds" link on the search results there is an option to "Find Macro", but clicking on this currently redirects you to the homepage. Looks like we will have to wait a little longer for this feature.

Update 3/15: Macros are also now finally available as well under the Gadget Gallery that can be installed on your homepage. It allows people to create lists of sites like: ( OR However, the query is very verbose compared to the list of sites like Rolly-o. Users should haven't to read something that looks like SQL in order to use it. Still, its a good start. I look forward to seeing how they expand on it. Meanwhile, I hope they improve the gadgets gallery usability perhaps, search functionality (isn't that ironic?) and some categories?

Go take a look at let me know what you think of the new


  1. Anonymous7:52 AM EST

    I would appreciate a post on Accoona, the new AI search site. Tell me what you think of it, i want your advice.

    Steve Abott

  2. Ask and ye shall recieve. I'll take a look at it.

    Thanks for the comments!

  3. You can add the macro's to your IE7 toolbar by using I give a brief example in my blog

    Give it a try :)