Do you have no need for the search box in IE7? Do you run search toolbars like the Windows Live Search Toolbar or the Google Toolbar, and don’t want to be tempted by other search engines? Then you’ll be happy that IntelliaAdmin has found a Registry edit that removes the search box from Internet Explorer 7. Just navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Infodelivery\Restrictions and add a DWORD value of “NoSearchBox” set to 1. If that’s too much for you to attempt, they’ve even created a small program that does the work for you. Cool beans.
Oh, if you want to customize Office 2007′s Ribbon, there’s a $30 program for that, too. It lets you remove Ribbon tabs, create new tabs and put anything you want in them, reorder tabs, and switch between multiple customizations, among other things.
LiveSide has info on Windows Live Mail Plus, the paid upgrade to Windows Live Mail in Holland that will likely be offered eventually in the US. For $20 a year, users get a four gigabyte hard drive, 20-megabyte file attachments, no ads (including in the Desktop software and Live Spaces), access to your account in Microsoft Office Outlook, and no disabling of the account due to inactivity. The four gig is a decent jump over Gmail’s current 2.8 GB, but may not be enough higher than Live Mail’s own two gig limit to temp users (though Outlook Access is worth twenty bucks for me).
TechnologyReview ran a head-to-head comparison of six major question and answer websites (Yahoo Answers, Ask’s Askville, Windows Live QnA, Answerbag, Wondir and Yedda), and Windows Live QnA placed third, on the strength of Mormons, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a decent answer to the age-old question about the 5-second rule. Strangely, all the services in the review were ranked in alphabetical order, but we won’t hold that against them.
Of course, the more important question, is how well QnA is doing in the market. Hitwise has some good news, namely that QnA stands in third place overall in market share, and some not-so-good-news, namely the percentage of the market they hold: 1.02%. Yahoo Answers has run away with the market, but a more accurate way of looking at it is that Yahoo created the market. Yahoo didn’t steal 96 percent of the market from a market leader, they just grew it and hold a commanding lead. In theory, there could be other websites that leap up and take mounds of new visitors, just like Yahoo did.
When Microsoft begins properly promoting Live QnA, putting QnA answers all over the place and gives Live Spaces users nice incentives to participate in the community, they could have a decent shot of catching more than just 1.02%. In fact, it looks like they’ve already put a prominent lint atop MSN.com, a good start.
Some interesting data: Yahoo Answers is now the 100th most popular site Hitwise tracks. Google sends Yahoo Answers almost as much traffic as Yahoo does, ironic considering Yahoo Answers’ popularity forced Google to shutter its long running and unsuccessful competing service.
LiveSide notes that Windows Live Search may be losing market share in the United States, but its share of searches in other countries could be telling a completely different story. In one example, Hong Kong saw Live Search up 140% over the last eleven months.
This could be a familiar strategy for Microsoft, which has taken over other markets en route to being number one worldwide. Readers with a good memory may remember that in April, Microsoft overtook AOL to have the number one instant messenger client, due to strong numbers in Latin America, Europe and Asia. It would not shock me to see the same thing happening with the search engine.