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Windows Live “Casino” – Where is it?

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Back at Search Champs, 13 months ago, we saw some prototype software called Windows Live “Casino”. Now, CRN has an article on Casino, explaining a lot about the project, which seems to keep changing focus and code names, and god only knows if it’ll ever ship. Originally, Casino was supposed to be an advanced interface for Windows Live Search, bringing the power of a desktop application to online search. Now?

Code-named Casino and referred to as OneView, the new application provides one user interface for searching across the desktop, intranets and the Web, according to Microsoft’s Web site.

… is in beta testing but isn’t ready to ship yet. The application is expected to be integrated with Windows Vista and Windows Live Search.

… “OneView gives you access to Windows Live Search. Windows Live Search indexes the whole environment, including local documents and networked documents, and OneView gives you total access to that information.”

The technology has been referred to as OneView, Windows Search 4, and Windows Search Preview…

So Casino could wind up shipping as the next version of Windows Desktop Search. Considering that Desktop Search is a recommended install on Windows XP along with the Windows Live Toolbar, or for Outlook 2007, it will get quite a good userbase, and if the interface lives up to the hype, it could be a great driver for helping Windows Live Search gain market share. Could be years before we ever see it, though, lending more credence to the belief that, “Microsoft has forgotten how to ship software”.

UPDATE: Turns out the CRN article ignores some newer info from the Shell Revealed blog, where Brandon Paddock explained that the dissapearance of Casino was because it was moved from Windows Live to the Windows group, and refocused as, indeed, the next version of Windows Desktop Search.

What this means is that WDS will get the improvements previously promised by Casino, able to search everything from a single place. No idea when it’ll ship (not soon, that’s for sure), and if it’ll have a swanky UI or something more traditional, or even how it fits into plans for Windows Vista, but at least that hard work should make it into something useful.

Brandon LeBlanc has more thoughts on this. Thanks, tipster, for the heads up! You can provide your own help by heading here.

In other news, Alexa is showing some gains for Windows Live and losses for Google, almost in proportion with each other, since Vista was released. If the Alexa data is to be trusted, maybe Vista really is the Windows Live delivery system Microsoft had hoped it would be. I know I’ve left Windows Live Search as the default on Internet Explorer, mostly because I only use IE a few times a day, but also because I want to like Live Search, and I know my feelings for Google search stem more from familiarity than better relevancy.

Also, Microsoft is acquiring Medstory, which operates a search engine on medical topics. It is geared both for medical consumers and health professionals, with results narrowed by clusters like studies, procedures, personal health info and substances. Could be a great tool in the Windows Live arsenal, I just hope they integrate it sooner rather than later.

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