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Search Changes Coming in Vista SP1

Although Microsoft didn't mention it in today's announcement about the upcoming release of Windows Vista SP1, the company confirmed today that one of the major changes will be to open up desktop search functionality to competition.

The changes will make it much easier for users to pick tools other than Microsoft's Instant Search to find information stored on local hard drives. Also benefiting will be OEMs and third-party vendors, who will find it less onerous to include their search technologies in Vista.

Microsoft, through a spokesperson, laid out the major changes to desktop search in SP1:

    • "Computer manufacturers and consumers will be able to select a default desktop search program similar to the way they currently select defaults for third-party web browsers and media players in Windows Vista.
    • Links to the default desktop search program will be provided on the Start menu and in Windows Explorer windows.
    • Microsoft will provide information to developers of third-party desktop search programs about how they can optimize their programs to minimize any performance problems."

Microsoft agreed to the changes to settle charges leveled against it by Google about anti-competitive practices in Vista's desktop search. Google, in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court last December, claimed that Microsoft made it nearly impossible for third parties to provide alternatives to Instant Search, effectively shutting out competition.

Google claimed that such a move violated Microsoft's agreement to avoid monopolistic practices when it lost the famous antitrust case in the late 1990s.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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