What Microsoft doesn't want you to know about Vista SP1

Microsoft touts performance and reliability as the key benefits of Vista's SP1, but a close look at the beta shows a significant change Microsoft doesn't seem to want you to know about --- you can now easily change your default desktop search tool to Google Desktop Search, or any another one.

As I point out in my review of the beta of SP1, SP1 makes several interface changes related to search. The Start menu's Search link has been taken away, and if you choose Start --> Default Programs --> Set your default program, you can easily change your default search to any tool you want. As I show in my review, there are several other changes related to search as well.

Those changes were not made willingly. Microsoft made them as an extension of the company's 2002 antitrust settlement with government regulators.

But in briefings Microsoft gave to the press, PointPoint presentations, and a white paper about SP1, Microsoft made no mention of the change, even though the company presented in exquisite detail many other much more minor changes that SP1 makes.

The reason is pretty clear: Google already owns Internet search. Microsoft worries that it could also own desktop search, which could cause serious problems for Microsoft.

But neglecting to tell people about one of the more significant changes SP1 makes isn't the way to combat Google. People are too smart for that --- they'll find out how to use an alternate desktop search on their own.

Ironically, Vista's built-in search is superior to Google Desktop Search --- Microsoft doesn't need to resort to these kinds of tactics in order to combat Google. Google Desktop Search treats your data as if it's Internet data; Vista's search treats it like it's desktop data. So the Vista search is far more flexible, and better integrated into the operating system. My guess is that most people won't make the move to Google Desktop Search, even when they find out how easy it is to switch.

source: www.computerworld.com



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