Microsoft Corp launched the beta version of its new MSN Toolbar Suite on Monday, with what it calls is 'breakthrough desktop search functionality' that will help users quickly find virtually any type of document, media file or e-mail message on their Windows-based personal computer.
The software giant says that the new search tool is will see to it that consumers now do not spend valuable time sifting through an enormous amount of information. Instead, they can quickly find exactly what they need.
The integrated suite of tools streamlines the process of finding and acting on information from PCs by combining the ease of a Web search with the richness and power of the PC environment.
The free suite of MSN search tools is available now in English in the United States at http://beta.toolbar.msn.com. It will be global available next year.
The new MSN Toolbar Suite includes an updated version of the MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Internet Explorer and new toolbars that are accessible through Windows and Microsoft Office Outlook.
The new toolbars include the MSN Deskbar for the Windows desktop, MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Office Outlook and MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Windows Explorer.
"With MSN Toolbar Suite, consumers can now search their desktops from within the popular applications on their PCs," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for the MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform division at Microsoft, in a media release.
The applications provide the following benefits:
Quick, precise retrieval of desktop files. Consumers can quickly and easily search the thousands of files on their PCs, including Outlook contacts or calendar files, Adobe PDFs files, or Microsoft Office Word or PowerPoint files. As a result, consumers will save time and increase their productivity.
Information when and where it is needed. The MSN toolbars save time, allowing consumers to find precisely what they need with less effort, when and where they need it, with less effort and within seconds. The MSN toolbars are conveniently designed to work with Outlook, Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and the Windows desktop. The MSN Toolbars also give consumers quick access to MSN Messenger, MSN Hotmail and MSN Spaces, enabling them to initiate common communication tasks right from the bar, including e-mail, instant messaging and inserting URLs into spaces blogs.
Familiar interfaces and useful results. Consumers can use desktop search when browsing files in Windows in a comfortable and familiar format, enabling them to open files in their associated application directly from their desktop search results and enabling quick access to actions such as managing, sharing, deleting or playing files.
New MSN Search service. MSN Toolbar Suite displays Web search results from the recently launched MSN Search Beta release, a new algorithmic search engine built by Microsoft and designed to help consumers find precisely the information they are looking for by providing more useful answers to their questions and more control over their search experience.
Privacy protection. The MSN Toolbar Suite is built on the current Windows security and privacy model, and respects the privacy of multiple users on a single PC by utilising the Windows authentication and user account management infrastructure, helping to provide consumers with a better-protected and more private desktop searching experience.
Recently, Microsoft launched its Internet search service, throwing itself into open competition with established giants like Google and Yahoo.
Analysts say that the move could be a setback to its competitors as the service would be incorporated in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which sells as an integral part of the Windows platform that equips 90 per cent of personal computers sold around the world.
The company, which had been working on the search engine for the past 18 months is eyeing a larger share of revenue by combining Internet search and advertising.