Aquarium Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Desktop Search Wars II: Attack of the Deskbars

I have been using MSN Toolbar Suite for some days, but I avoided posting about it. As seen in this Robert's blog entry, blogspace is full of noise about the product already.

There are many things to like about the MSN Toolbar Suite but it also shows little glitches from time to time.

I hope developers will work better the hide buttons hack. In the current version you can save valuable screen space by hidding the button, but then you loose access to some convenient menu items.

The Toolbar Suite refuses to install in Windows 2003 Server, which many developers use as a Desktop Operating system.

In general, I like the idea of having a Deskbar, but I have to admit that I still don't get used to it. If just the Windows Taskbar would be more flexible... If it allowed to distribute things better...

What really makes me smile about the product is how similar it is to the Google Deskbar that have been available for some time, both trough Google's site, and trough Microsoft's site (Microsoft's distributes Google Deskbar as part of Microsoft's Partner Pack. Here I found a good explanation of it. In short, Google's Deskbar is a .NET product, a very useful one, and it helps get the .NET word out there).

Google's Deskbar and MSN Deskbar are so much alike, I think they look more like a product of some collaboration than of fierce competition. They both have this nice background logo (different logos off course), they both let you do customized searches in other sites. Google's version also integrates with Google Desktop, giving you the same functionality of MSN Toolbar Suite, albeit I am not sure how well that works.

I think it is worthy to try both suites, the MSN Toolbar Suite, and Google Deskbar + Google Desktop. But don't forget that having two desktop search engines in a computer will kill its performance and use a lot of hard disk space.


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