Thanks Microsoft

Each day comes with the announcement of an exciting new product due to the war like competition between Yahoo! and Google. It was only few days back that I deleted Google Desktop and installed Yahoo! Desktop Search. But today, Google has come up with a new version of their search tool and I knew I had to get it.
After resisting the initial impulse, I browsed over to the Google webpage and read a bit. Still not convinced I was about to leave and then I saw the screenshots, which are like rain songs in Indian movies. They tantalize, but don’t reveal much. But that was enough for me to download Google Desktop. Then I was frantically configuring the Sidebar to read random feeds and display photos from various sources. Then I configured a few stocks and installed a few plugins.
I also configured Sidebar to show weather in the city I am in and so I get weather via a plugin on my browser, a widget on Konfabulator and now on Sidebar. All of them agree that it is going to be cloudy. I also turned around in my chair, looked out through the window and verified it. I have TODO lists on Konfabulator and Google Sidebar each holding various pieces of things to do. Action item number one is to merge all of them.
According to those ever helpful analysts, the Sidebar is Google’s aggressive move against Yahoo! and Microsoft and it’s true. The Sidebar aggressively pushed all my Windows applications to the left and occupied some valuable real estate on the right side. I had to select Auto Hide to reclaim the space back.
It was only few days back that I installed Konfabulator from Yahoo! after seeing the screenshots of some cool widgets. It displays weather with some stunning graphics, and shows alarm clocks in various ways, all of which I don’t need. But this is the closest to a Mac, that my Windows machine can get. But Sidebar can also display clocks. There was this old adage that all software would expand until it can read mail. Now it expands to display alarm clocks.
After the new install Google Desktop started indexing my data and it was slow. Since I had to search for something (the txt file which is my TODO list), I started Yahoo Desktop Search and it started indexing again. Google was indexing too and both of them reached my email held by Thunderbird almost at the same time. Since Thunderbird was not designed for a threesome, it thew up some expletives in hex and quit.
When I thought I could take a break from configuring various desktop searches and slick widgets, there is news that Google is going to release a communication tool. In this crazy widget eat widget world Microsoft has thankfully stayed away. Instead of burdening the user with innovations each week, they have decided to stand back and concentrate on something called Vista which is due next year, which means we will get it when America pulls out of Eye-Rack.
Update: Both Microsoft and Yahoo! are going to upgrade their web mail services.

19 thoughts on “Thanks Microsoft

  1. Didn’t understand you reference to “Eye-Rack” 🙂
    Anyway what Google and Yahoo does in bits and pieces, Microsoft does in one giant sweep, also know as upgrade! Vista is supposed to have a database like file system that should ease file searching, but I wonder whether it will be that low level a database (due to multimedia content) and hence you could expect some weird problems when DB meets FS world.

  2. Luckily I never bothered to check out Yahoo Desktop search and continued with my old Google Desktop. The new serach upgraded the old index. Anyway I have to the say the Sidebar is cool.

  3. Wow. I have a lot to catch up to. I was still under the impression that weather plugins were the coolest. I am yet to catch up to the alarm clock plugins.
    Very nice post, btw.

  4. >>You should think about opening all yous links in a new browser window.
    Heaven forbid! Please don’t break the back button. I’ll rather use my back button than my close/exit/quit button.

  5. Boss DK, In Firefox, if you want to open a link in a new browser window, right click and say, open link in new tab or you can set your preferences to do the same.

  6. Konfabulator widgets eat lot of memory atleast 10 MB per widget. Previously I had installed lot of widgets. But removed all the widgets except Weather. Although I have Forecastfox extension installed in firefox, I cant resist the Weather Widget.
    >>Boss DK, In Firefox, if you want to open a link in a new browser window, right click and say, open link in new tab or you can set your preferences to do the same.
    just press control key while selecting a link, it will automatically open in new tab.

  7. I have installed GDS. Its really good. But there is a catch. Google Desktop actually listens to TCP packets and modifies the pages that are served from to include desktop results. This is little scary. I will uninstall GDS in another week because I dont want any program to read my web pages, even if it is from a company like Google.

  8. Saravanan, I too have uninstalled Konfabulator. Right now Sidebar, though not as slick as Konfab, looks more useful.
    I think MT Spam Control has taken over my installation and is preventing even legit posts. mail your comment to me (tiptronicus at gmail dot com) and i will post it for you.

  9. Saravanan, You can turn off the Google Desktop integration with Google Search results by setting the Google Desktop preferences. Isn’t that sufficient?

  10. I think GDS still reads the web pages. Goto with and without GDS running. you will see a Desktop Search link if GDS is running and no Desktop Search link if it is not running.

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