MSN Desktop Search Out-Googles Google

by Preston Gralla

Google may be the ultimate Web searcher, but when it comes to finding things on your computer, the just-released beta of MSN Desktop Search beats it hands-down.

That's because Microsoft's search tool has been built specifically to search through emails and documents, and so it lets you fine-tune your search in ways that Google doesn't. So if you're looking for a specific piece of email, for example, you can search by folder, by sender, by date, by size of file attachments, and more - and you can combine them all for exceedingly fine-tuned searches.

Additionally, MSN Desktop Search has an interface that lets you easily sort and resort your results, and lets you right-click on any result, and then take actions on the file from a pop-up menu - the same pop-up menu that appears when you right-click in Windows Explorer.

There are a lot of other nifty extras in it as well. It can sit as a box in your Taskbar for example, and when you want to do a search, type your search into the box, and results pop up, menu-style. Click on any result to get straight to the file or email.

Google's search tool, on the other hand, uses the Web search paradigm. You can fine-tune it in ways you would when searching the Web, but not in ways you'd like to when looking for files or email on your hard disk. The interface is bare-bones Google, which is fine for the Web, but not suited for when you're looking for files, and then working with them on your PC.

Don't expect either of these search tools to change drastically. Google has applied the Web approach to searching and applied it to your computer. Microsoft instead applied what it knows about Windows, Outlook, and documents. And the winner, without a doubt, is Microsoft.

Which search tool do you think is better? Let me know.


2004-12-16 07:26:57
MSN Search working with Outlook? You must be joking!
1. Microsoft products working with Microsoft products is not a huge surprise; That's their only selling point. But if you ask me, having bad apps work with other bad apps is not a selling point.

2. e-mail does not equal Outlook, and Outlook does not equal e-mail; what if you use a real mail client?

3. Do you really want anything with the moniker MSN to have full access to your data?? This implies a massive level of trust in a company which should have none.