Microsoft To Change Windows Desktop Search In Vista SP1

The changes to be made to "Desktop Search" are in compliance with a complaint filed by Google earlier this year. In a filing made jointly with the Justice Department on Tuesday night, Microsoft said it would change the search feature as part of the first service pack for Windows Vista. In the filing, Microsoft talked for the first time about when service pack one (SP1) for Windows Vista would arrive, saying a beta version will come by the end of the year.

Background on the complaint made by Google:
This complaint, filed by Google earlier this year, relates to the desktop search functionality in Windows Vista that enables users to search for files located on their computer. This desktop search functionality in Vista, referred to as "Instant Search" in Microsoft's promotional materials, allows users to enter a search query into a text box and receive a list of results from the hard drive that contain the search term, either in the name of the file or program, in the full text of the file, or in the keywords associated with that file. The desktop search functionality relies on an index that is updated whenever files on the computer change.

Google's complaint contends that desktop search in Windows Vista is a new "Microsoft Middleware Product" under the Final Judgments. Regulators said Tuesday: "Plaintiffs are collectively satisfied that this agreement will resolve any issues the complaint may raise under the Final Judgments, provided that Microsoft implements it as promised." Under the agreement, Microsoft will create a mechanism whereby both Computer Manufactures and users (or Consumers) will be able to choose a default desktop search program, just like they can choose a rival browser or media player as there default program, even though those technologies are built into Windows.

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Great...BETA by end of year now as opposed to the release being end of year. Guess that means I wait until god knows when in 2008 to upgrade, if at all.

I think I've finally found out what will be the death of Windows as a dominant platform. And this article is it.

From now on, every time Microsoft implements a new feature in Windows, whether it's for security, productivity, etc, they will be required by their competitors (through the DoJ) to implement extensibility points.

Any developer knows that implementing a secure and efficient extensibility point for a feature is at least as difficult as implementing the feature itself. And it takes more time.

Wonderful.

The whole thing is absurd.

It does not matter if Microsoft's built-in search feature is not as good as google's or if it is even worth anything. I believe search is an OS feature that should not be 'attacked' like google is doing.

Simply put, Microsoft designed and created the built-in desktop search as a goal to be feature competitive with Apple's OS.
Apple - We have instant search!
Microsoft - We can do that too! Oh whats that DOJ? We cant?

I am tired as hell at all the DOJ injunctions that are placed on Microsoft for its so-called monopoly.

1) Yes they run 90% of the computers that consumers run as its the only competitive desktop OS that developers are developing for. Is it Microsoft's fault that 'insert company name here" that you cant find "X" game or application on Linux/OSX? No.

2)They design a media player, the design a browser, they design a messaging program they bundle these options in their OWN OS; so what? its a competitive world and they have to compete. Why isn't apple being attacked for only including Safari, iChat, and Quicktime/iTunes?

Many people seem to miss the point of this law suit. It's about monopoly vs user choice. As long as there are software maker out there giving us user the choice to use their software over MS then MS have no right to use their monopoly to push everyone else out of the market.

The best example to remember is Netscape vs IE. Sure IE 4 was better then NS 4 but the fact that IE came integrated into Win98 by default meaning many non-techie user out there do not know that there are alternative like NS and Opera available. Then developer/website coder start writing page that will only work in IE. R.I.P. Netscape.

It has already happen again with Windows/MSN Messenger. What happened to ICQ the father of instant messaging? Anybody still use it? If not for Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger would have monopoly of the IM market.

People don't know what they are missing out on until they are provide an alternative solution. Take Firefox as example. Until Firefox came along most people have to put up with IE. The best they can do is use a shell like myIE to improve their web experience but they are still stuck with the underlaying IE engine full of security holes. (Yes I KNOW there is Opera. It's my default browser. I use it 95% of the time. APPARENTLY it's too advance for even some geek.)

So whether you use/prefer IE, OE, WMP, Windows Messenger, OneCare, Windows Defender, WDS... or not Aren't you glad that there are Firefox/Opera, Thunderbird, MPC/VLC, iTune/Winamp/Foobar/Songbird, Pidgin/Miranda/Trillian, ZoneAlarm/Kerio/Kaspersky, GDS/Copernic DS, and OpenOffice...

If there is no anti-trust to watch out for consumer interest, one day when any of the MS programs mention above dominate its market completely, it will be no longer viable for your favourite alternative software maker to continue development. It will be very sad come that day.

Jaron said,
Many people seem to miss the point of this law suit. It's about monopoly vs user choice. As long as there are software maker out there giving us user the choice to use their software over MS then MS have no right to use their monopoly to push everyone else out of the market.

I think you got it wrong. Microsoft's search is an added "feature" not an application. There's a big difference between all that monopoly crap you're talking about and a feature/add-on. Either way it's stupid and you're stupid. I believe you're just using this chance to complain about microsofts so called monopoly. Everyone does have a choice, but most people don't like to make choices. They prefer to have the things they need already and have it to work right away. And that is what microsoft provides. If people feel it doesn't work how they think it should work, they will look for something better. duh!

Anyways, this is microsoft's OS, they created this market of software in the first place, a lot of software developers are making money off of them. Google can suck it, and apple has a monopoly on their OS too, but since they're not the dominant OS in the market, no one gives a crap.

It's not just that, what Google sees is a potentially large shift to Microsoft's new flagship OS, and if it has Search functionality inbuilt, and in logical places, who is going to bother using GDS? Don't get me wrong, I still don't like Google, it's just the more I think about it, the more I can see where they are coming from. But as I wrote in this post, it's their fault anyway, so I have no sympathy for them.

Beside their Search engine (which I think the world can agree, it's top-banana; don't get cosy, other engines are catching up!. ), Google don't really offer anything that really sways me.

I think it will be funny if one day Google comes out with their own OS (call it 'GOS' or something) and then Microsoft can starting nit-picking with them to allow GOS users to select the Windows Search function in their new OS. Next thing you know, Google will come up with some nifty new File Explorer and then insist that Microsoft allow users to use their explorer rather than the one with Windows. And that would include the shell!

Then Google will take over the world.

Stupid lawsuits! Why nobody's suing apple??? They/re not allowing any competition on their platrom! Why am I forced to use OSX's buit in search, Safari. iTunes and so on...

This is something I have always wondered, and I think it's down to two things:

1) As much as Apple have grown (and they have done, although market stats don't show it because the PC market is also expanding), there are not enough companies producing software products for this smaller market footprint.

2) Windows has been at the center of application development for years now, so it would make sense that the majority of companies are using that platform.

All in all, I think this is mindless accustation by Google. They were well aware of the Instant Desktop Search was going to be a featue of Vista and they (as well as Apple) blatantly ripped off that feature (although the Spotlight implementation is particularly good) for their own use, forcing Microsoft to produce WDS and I think it was that which has pushed IDS into the realm of middleware. Shame on you, Google, just write your own damn OS and sell it.

Stop saying they innovate, vista search is pretty lame:

1. I can't index all my filenames in a single night, it takes days and is rather slow.

2. Filename and content search should be two different things. Most people just need to find a file on a 500 gig hdd.

3. I can't pause or stop the indexing until another time.

4. I can't schedule a indexing when I want it to occur like when I'm sleeping.

5. I can't index only certain groups like pictures or documents if that is all I wanted.

I could go on and on but I think you guys get the picture that Vista Desktop Search is far from the best it could be.


PS: I just used Avafind to index every file on my hard drive and it took minutes not hours or days.

hardgiant said,
Stop saying they innovate, vista search is pretty lame:

1. I can't index all my filenames in a single night, it takes days and is rather slow.

2. Filename and content search should be two different things. Most people just need to find a file on a 500 gig hdd.

3. I can't pause or stop the indexing until another time.

4. I can't schedule a indexing when I want it to occur like when I'm sleeping.

5. I can't index only certain groups like pictures or documents if that is all I wanted.

I could go on and on but I think you guys get the picture that Vista Desktop Search is far from the best it could be.

PS: I just used Avafind to index every file on my hard drive and it took minutes not hours or days.

Well as that is your opinion we can't really say otherwise, except;

1. Indexing is a complex task (especially if you have multiple desktop search products competing for priority), each file has to be checked for keywords (this means in the filename, the metadata, and sometimes the content too). If you have a lot of files, this will take a long time. And if it is still going the next day, it might be because you left something running over night, such as maybe a torrent.

2. The advanced search functionality let's you refine and break down your search by particular fields.

3. Indexing is optimised to use idle processing time, so unless you have forced it to index actively, whats the argument?

4. Agreed, I haven't found a way of scheduling it (although I bet if there is a way, it's pretty obvious and I'm just being a tard.

5. Not sure on this one either, but you can narrow your search down to just those types.

Let's not forget that the filetypes it can index are expandable by use of Search Filters.

1. yeah got a point, but google seems to do it better, but the point of the article is to let the user choose
2. not easy to do, especially when it seems to nnot really search that well, i have had docs that had supposedly been indexed that i searched on and didn't find, it really isn't that reliable
3. i have foud that indexing is a bitch to make run if you need it to index somethign now.
4. agreed
5. my expierience has been all bad on this one

search filters have to be wrttten by someone.

It could be better. If they prioritized just indexing filenames/types first, it would be faster. Then after all filenames/types are indexed, file content could be indexed with a low priority. It should be optional of course. And people usually just search for filenames, so content isn't really a priority.

"just like they can choose a rival browser or media player as there default program"

Even with this choice, there's still Windows Vista without media player. I pity the people at Microsoft, they have very little freedom to develop their OS due to their monopoly.

billyea said,
"just like they can choose a rival browser or media player as there default program"

Even with this choice, there's still Windows Vista without media player. I pity the people at Microsoft, they have very little freedom to develop their OS due to their monopoly.

What monopoly?

If they were they could do anything they wanted but it seems nowadays they can't..

Anyway hopefully this new "feature" is something you can choose not to install when installing the service pack..

ana04 said,

What monopoly?

If they were they could do anything they wanted but it seems nowadays they can't..

Anyway hopefully this new "feature" is something you can choose not to install when installing the service pack..


They seem to be getting anti-trust left and right.

ana04 said,

What monopoly?

If they were they could do anything they wanted but it seems nowadays they can't..

Anyway hopefully this new "feature" is something you can choose not to install when installing the service pack..

why would you not want the ability to choose a search provider, your comment is just silly, if you want to leave it as MS then leave it, there is no reason not to install the feature that gives you the ability to turn it off

Why doesn't Google give me the choice of using MSN search while on www.google.com? I mean, I still like to use the interface, but why can't Google, instead of displaying Google's results, display MSN search results? Talk about using their power over web searching to squash the less popular search engines!

I'll second that Post-it Note!

Where does the line stop, if Google gets the power to make MS change, then anyone can suggest a change to anything else in the world, simply because it doesn't meet their own expecations. It's scary to think about.

I don't see google hounding Apple over the fact that Safari only allows for Google and Yahoo search to be used in the built in search, but when MS initally didn't have the option for Google Search in IE, Google flipped out, and even demanded that it be made the default since they had the most market share.

I'm personally getting tired of google, they are rapidly getting annoying to me. (bit of sarcasm) but how many apps does google produce that is actually out of beta? They are claiming beta, just to cover their butt when the eventual disaster happens. Get some balls and take resposibility and stop hiding behind "Beta" The fact that Gmail is still in beta is probably my biggest annoyance with Google it's been in beta since 2004. MS released a whole new operating system in that time almost.

you miss the point of the article adn the whole antitrust thing, MS is trying to kill off the competition by bundling their stuff with windows, adn making it extremely hard to choose anythign else.

i dont know but why not go against apple for spotlight i mean instant search its the same thing (well almost) its one of the features that makes vista better and xp not...

Because Google only made their search for OS X this year, while Spotlight shipped long ago, as the first instant search for OS X. Plus Google has a seat on the Apple board of directors, if they want a change, they can cut out the middle man and just bring it up in a meeting.

simon360 said,
Because Google only made their search for OS X this year, while Spotlight shipped long ago, as the first instant search for OS X. Plus Google has a seat on the Apple board of directors, if they want a change, they can cut out the middle man and just bring it up in a meeting.

Basically it's just double standards... They won't ask the same of Apple, but they demand it of Microsoft. IMO Microsoft shouldn't concede until Apple and every other company that makes an OS agrees to do the same thing. But oh noes, lets just target the one with the market share because they're the only one that "matters".

Everyone is still jealous of Microsoft (after allll these years) and have nothing better to do than try to be a pain in Microsofts ass. It's getting old, and it's getting boring. Windows is Microsoft's product, not anyone elses, so as far as I'm concerned Google can suck on it :P

noleafclover said,

Basically it's just double standards... They won't ask the same of Apple, but they demand it of Microsoft. IMO Microsoft shouldn't concede until Apple and every other company that makes an OS agrees to do the same thing. But oh noes, lets just target the one with the market share because they're the only one that "matters".

Everyone is still jealous of Microsoft (after allll these years) and have nothing better to do than try to be a pain in Microsofts ass. It's getting old, and it's getting boring. Windows is Microsoft's product, not anyone elses, so as far as I'm concerned Google can suck on it :P

i doubt it, i am sure they have not complained to apple because you can select a search provider in MAc OS, well i thought you coudl, it's been a while since i used a mac

the whole point of the MS antitrust suit was this sort of behaviour, an the courts decided they were wrong, so legally MS is in the wrong so it does not really matter what anyone thinks

Google wants the OPTION of being allowed to pedal "CRAP-WARE". With all the options to change program defaults it seems ridiculous that Microsoft omitted the option to change search provider. It was a deliberate move to attack Google's market share. I'm not saying that Microsoft should bend over backwards to the competition but it SHOULD [and is required to] provide the relevant APIs to allow other companies to compete because it is a monopoly for all intents and purposes.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Google wants the OPTION of being allowed to pedal "CRAP-WARE". With all the options to change program defaults it seems ridiculous that Microsoft omitted the option to change search provider. It was a deliberate move to attack Google's market share. I'm not saying that Microsoft should bend over backwards to the competition but it SHOULD [and is required to] provide the relevant APIs to allow other companies to compete because it is a monopoly for all intents and purposes.

Wait what?

Please explain how anything in Vista prevents you from using Google Desktop Search exactly as you could on XP.

Windows has always included file search. It has never provided a supported means for third-parties to "hook" the Explorer file search UI. If every single function of the operating system had "hooks" like that, it would be impossible to maintain and Microsoft would never be able to innovate. All this does is hurt Microsoft customers by making Microsoft bend over backwards to let companies like Google benefit from Microsoft's hard work.

Brandon Live said,
Wait what?

Please explain how anything in Vista prevents you from using Google Desktop Search exactly as you could on XP.

Windows has always included file search. It has never provided a supported means for third-parties to "hook" the Explorer file search UI. If every single function of the operating system had "hooks" like that, it would be impossible to maintain and Microsoft would never be able to innovate. All this does is hurt Microsoft customers by making Microsoft bend over backwards to let companies like Google benefit from Microsoft's hard work.

READ THE ARTICLE, does anyone read before they post.

How do yo thinkg MS writes most of their code, using API's that basically hook into every little bit of the OS, it actually makes it a hell of a lot easier to maintain adn update.

Brandon Live said,
theyarecomingforyou said,
Google wants the OPTION of being allowed to pedal "CRAP-WARE". With all the options to change program defaults it seems ridiculous that Microsoft omitted the option to change search provider. It was a deliberate move to attack Google's market share. I'm not saying that Microsoft should bend over backwards to the competition but it SHOULD [and is required to] provide the relevant APIs to allow other companies to compete because it is a monopoly for all intents and purposes.

Wait what?

Please explain how anything in Vista prevents you from using Google Desktop Search exactly as you could on XP.

Windows has always included file search. It has never provided a supported means for third-parties to "hook" the Explorer file search UI. If every single function of the operating system had "hooks" like that, it would be impossible to maintain and Microsoft would never be able to innovate. All this does is hurt Microsoft customers by making Microsoft bend over backwards to let companies like Google benefit from Microsoft's hard work.

Vista makes using Google Desktop Search much less optimal because now you'll have TWO indexers crawling your hard drive. Sure you have the "option" of disabling Vista's Desktop Search, but then all those search boxes littered all over the OS become USELESS. The proper method, required by DOJ's antitrust ruling, is to make those search boxes NEUTRAL and give the end-user the option to CHOOSE Microsoft's solution or another vendor's solution. Seems like Microsoft magically UNDERSTOOD this for the IE7 search box, so it wasn't an ignorant mistake... it was a WILLFUL decision and ILLEGAL decision to force out competitors through bundling. It's no different than if MS blocked other compression software "because we already provide ZIP Folders". Everyone at MS knew this, and they choose to go ahead with their bad decision - and now the DOJ is enforcing the agreement that MS signed. Very simple and no wiggle room here.

Why the hell microsoft is creating another search link or bar!.. :-(

For me inbuilt search is ok & great!...i will stick to it..i dont need any 3rd party (google to get into vista again.)

I say we go back to dos, that should solve everyones problem


shame on you ms for implementing your own search...ffs

Is the search that bad? Or is this google just crying because MS makes there own OS and wants to not allow it to be filled with third party integration

Ummm... It seems that the complaint isn't that there is a search. It seems that it centers around the claim that Windows Search is a new "Microsoft Middleware Product". Not an "OS" feature, but a new/enhanced product to the whole Microsoft software ensemble.

And the complaint seems to focus on leveling the competitive field, so that third party tools (in this case Google's search tool) can be selected by the user to be default, in place of the Microsoft tool.

I don't see anything saying that "Microsoft shouldn't make a search tool" in there.

I don't see a Middleware product.

It's not branded as anything. It doesn't even have a front end. It's just the thing that indexes your files silently in the background and allows for explorer to access your files, from the start menu, explorer windows, etc.

I see it as a feature of explorer, more than anything.

Explorer lets you find your files, the index lets you find your files faster. It's just a feature.

Let google write their own shell.

MioTheGreat said,
I don't see a Middleware product.

It's not branded as anything. It doesn't even have a front end. It's just the thing that indexes your files silently in the background and allows for explorer to access your files, from the start menu, explorer windows, etc.

Not true at all. They ported to XP. So it is separate and it does have a front end.

Middleware: ie: Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player.

MioTheGreat said,
Fair enough, it's a separate product for XP. But it's just a feature of Explorer on Vista.

But that's the problem: It's so integrated that if you want Google Desktop to be your default hard drive search tool and you are unfortunate enough to be running Windows Vista, you are out of luck. Naturally, Google didn't like that so they marched their army of lawyers into battle with Microsoft's army of lawyers and the Duoh!-J had to referee the match.

The good news is that now Microsoft HAS to admit that they are working on Vista SP1.

Jaron said,

Not true at all. They ported to XP. So it is separate and it does have a front end.

My humble opinion follows...

It wasn't "ported" to XP. Search has been a feature of Windows forever. There is an XP redistributable of WDS just like there was a Windows 3.1 redistributable of the Win32 APIs from Windows 95. It's done largely so that developers targetting the Vista platform don't have to wait several years for customers to adopt the new OS... they can take advantage of the new platform today by redistributing the platform components to XP users.

Also, the WDS UI is built-in to Explorer on both XP and Vista, and always has been.

Croquant said,

But that's the problem: It's so integrated that if you want Google Desktop to be your default hard drive search tool and you are unfortunate enough to be running Windows Vista, you are out of luck.

How so? What is a "default hard drive search tool?" You mean the one used by Explorer? There has never been a notion of a "default hard drive search tool" in Windows or any OS I know of. On XP if you wanted to search with Google, you launched their app or used their entrypoints.

In my opinion, Google only wants this so they can pay OEMs to install their stuff by default, and have Vista users not know they're using Google's engine and having all their queries tracked by an advertising company.

Yes the MS indexing service is inherantly bad, thats when you can get it to work properly

XP has the indexing service and alwasy has, i would consider this a default search tool, i think it was even around in 2000. look under services in computer managment, you will find the Indexing Service which actually is off by default on those OS's, the reason not many people know about it is becasue noone uses it

however that wasn't the point of the article.

The point of the artcle was that MS basically forced their search on users and failed to give users the choice to make a different search default, basically if you wanted to use a different search your machine slows down becasue you can't turn the MS search off easily and for anyone that has tried to uninstall IE, even just to re-install to fix issues, will know how much of a pain this sort of thing is