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March 11, 2006

Windows Live Toolbar Shines

I think this blog will become Google Operating System vs Windows Live. This year is crucial for Microsoft, they'll launch a new operating system, a new office suite, they'll finish Windows Live project, they'll try to improve their search engine and they'll launch MSN adCenter. Maybe they try too much.

Windows Live Toolbar (if you want to visit the page, you should first sign in) is, of course, a replacement for MSN Search Toolbar.

What features does it have:
• Search using Windows Live Search
• Phishing Filter (will be built-in in IE 7)
• Collect, organize and share the info you find online
• Auto-detect a site's RSS feeds, and have them automatically sent to your personalized home page
• Access your favorites from any PC
• Tabbed browsing (will be built-in in IE 7)

It's nice that the installer is just 800 KB and includes only the basic features. If you want more (desktop search, RSS feeds detector) you can select them from a list.

The cool thing about this toolbar is that it includes Onfolio, a technology recently acquired by Microsoft, that lets you capture sites (recursively, with advanced restrictions), manage collections of sites, read RSS news feeds, and share content in emails, blogs and documents. It's useful for research, blogging and it looks pretty impressive. You can create a collection of sites, pages, snippets and organize them in folders, search them or include in your blog.

Windows Live Search is slow, but nice - it uses Ajax to create an "infinte" stream of results so you never click Next. Feed Search lets you preview RSS feeds and add them to Live homepage, while Image Search enlargers images when hovering them. Just cosmetic changes.

Live Favorites didn't seem to work for me: I couldn't add any site to the list.

Except for the custom buttons and the spell-checking that are very nice implemented in Google Toolbar, Windows Live Toolbar has almost everything and will definitely be a success.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.