The search team has worked closely with the Windows Live Search and Windows Desktop Search team, and the fruit of that collaboration will begin to become apparent when Vista, the new version of Windows, and Office 2007, go public.
One of the major gripes that users have with Microsoft's existing search is that it doesn't do a good job finding anything that isn't part of a Word document. Indeed, until fairly recently, it wasn't possible to search emails, PDF Web pages and other file types at all using Windows. That capability is built into the Windows Desktop search tool, but still leaves a lot to be desired.
"We've been focusing on people's ability to find things they've seen before," said Dumais. Vista and Office will have richer search capabilities built in, and they'll be much easier to use. Search boxes, she says, will become ubiquitous. Users don't want to jump from application to application when they need to search, she says.
Vista will do a much better job of indexing across different types of files, including photos. (Vista won't search on the image, however. It will allow users to add information to the photo file that can be searched on later.)