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Windows Live Search Adds Instant Answers


MSN Search has for a while had instant answers, the boxed results that include facts or other information above search results. Window Live Search, with its cleaner interface, launched without them, but the MSN Search blog has announced that they have finally added them.

For now, the only boxes are those with news or local results shown above the search results, letting you know that there might be things in the other tabs you want to check out, but it is safe to assume they might consider adding in the stock market, sports statistics and other information that MSN Search currently has, at some point in the future.

Part of the goal with Windows Live Search is to provide a slick, next-generation interface, while still holding the perception of minimalism that Google has made a requirement. The instant answers do add a bit of clutter, but you can see that they do not get in the way much, and they anyway dissapear as you scroll down. However, since Live Search lets you maximize and minimize the amount of detail in each search result, why not let users specify if they want instant answers or not?

June 8th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, Search, MSN, General | no comments

Windows Vista Beta 2 Goes Live

Windows Vista beta 2 is now available for download. Get it now!

You need to use a download manager, or at least a browser that supports resuming downloads, since it is a gigantic download, or you can use Microsoft’s provided manager from Akamai. You should expect 3.2 gigabyte download (4.4 GB for 64-bit), so free up some space. Do not bother downloading unless you can burn it to a DVD. You can also order a DVD, and pay for shipping.

You need to free up 11.23 gigabytes before attempting installation. No, that is not a typo. Vista installation will refuse to upgrade your machine with even one megabyte less, and will insist on a clean install. Be prepared to move some stuff to other hard drives.

Vista Beta 2 expires on July 1, 2007.

There is a more detailed download page here.

June 8th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

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Four Settle Bogus Spyware Case

Four people, all of whom were accused of promoting a fake and malicious software product that claimed to protect computers from spyware, have agreed to pay fines after a lawsuit by Microsoft and the Washington State Attorney General. The software, Secure Computer’s Spyware Cleaner, was advertised on Google AdWords for search terms like “Microsoft spyware cleaner,” and “Microsoft antispyware”, but not only didn’t remove spyware as it claimed to do, it actually made computers less secure.

In most of the cases, the accused made large percentages of the $49.95 cost of a copy of Spyware Cleaner, by referring users to purchase it. Microsoft was right to be irked when it saw that Google’s advertising platform was being used to generate those referrals. However, they earn my respect in showing the intelligence and restraint to sue the advertisers, not Google.

God knows there are many at Microsoft who would love to shove a lawsuit up Google’s collective, uh, something, but those sort of lawsuits do nothing but try to take advantage of poorly knowledgeable judges. Companies like Google, who run an automated system, should not be sued as service providers, and going after the users who abuse the system for their illegal means is the way to do it.

You hear that, Geico? American Blinds?

June 8th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | AntiSpyware, Google, Security, Law, General | no comments