Microsoft to address Google search complaint in Vista SP1

Microsoft is making changes to Windows Vista in response to a Google complaint that claimed Vista's integrated desktop search is harming the performance of Google Desktop and hampering customer choice. Microsoft plans to incorporate some of the search-related changes in Vista Service Pack 1, which the company is finally admitting will be out in beta form before the end of 2007.

The latest Department of Justice status report on Microsoft's antitrust compliance is out. And Microsoft's concessions to a Google complaint regarding integrated desktop search are a key component of that report.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop links to the 27-page PDF version of the full status report. He also provides the highlights of Microsoft's four-pronged plan for enabling third-party desktop search engines to work better with Windows Vista.

A Microsoft corporate spokesman, contacting the media via e-mail on Tuesday night, summarized the Vista search changes Microsoft is planning to make as follows:

  1. "Defaults: Computer manufacturers and consumers will be able to select a default desktop search program similar to the way they currently select defaults for third-party web browsers and media players in Windows Vista.
  2. "Easy Links: Links to the default desktop search program will be provided on the Start menu and in Windows Explorer windows.
  3. "Developer guidance: Microsoft will provide information to developers of third-party desktop search programs about how they can optimize their programs to minimize any performance problems."

Microsoft is promising to deliver a number of the required changes as part of Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista. A beta of that service pack, according to the status report, will be out before the end of this year.

(That's one way to get Microsoft to have to cough up a long-awaited acknowledgement of Vista SP1, as well as a partial timetable for it.)

What do you think of the proposed changes to Vista's integrated search capabilitiy? Gratuitious? Necessary? Confusing? None of the above?