Microsoft isn't talking publicly yet about "Scout," an Office 2007 search add-in developed by Microsoft that Istartedsomething blogger Long Zheng mentions (and posts a screen shot of) in a post today.
But the Redmondians should be showing off this interesting-looking search appendage -- especially if the company wants to silence critics who say the Office 2007 Ribbon user interface (now apparently known as "Fluent") makes finding commands tougher, not easier.
Zheng compares Scout to Blacktree's Quicksilver for Mac OS X, but says Quicksilver is more powerful.
Scout "creates a 'Search Commands' tab at the end of your ribbon menu where inside it, you could search for commands and functions," Zheng blogged. "Simple, like it should be."
I scouted around for any kind of beta or research links for Scout and came up empty-handed. I asked Microsoft for more information on when and how this plug-in would be available.
My request was passed from the Office team to the Microsoft Search team. This was the Search corporate spokeswoman's response:
"I'm afraid that we do not have any information to share (about Scout) at this time, as Microsoft makes it a practice to not comment on rumors or speculation. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause ."
Given a recent Forrester Research report claiming that Office 2007 will require more training than previously expected -- resulting in most Microsoft-centric enterprises waiting three to five years to upgrade -- it seems like the perfect time for Microsoft to be signing up new Scouts.