As part of the event, I scored a free retail copy of Office 2007 and Groove. I haven't bothered with Groove, but I went ahead and installed Office 2007 on my laptop. I use Outlook all day at work, and now I have this staring at me:
Notice the "Click here to enable Instant Search". That's not just for the inbox...
Pervasive indeed. Of course the "instant search" being referenced here is Microsoft's Desktop Search. I've played with this in the past, but I liked Google's a lot better. Mostly because it handled Firefox and Thunderbird well, but MS's did not. I now also use Google's Desktop sidebar, and I have some gadgets for things like my calendar, iTunes controller, and some RSS feeds.
So I entertained the idea of switching to the MS version of these things. I realized that the vast majority of desktop searches I do are for Outlook emails. So the MS search probably does that as well as the Google one. Most other searches I do are in code using Eclipse. I did occasionally use GDS to search through legacy code back when I worked with lots of legacy code... Also, I thought if nothing else, perhaps it would use less resources (even though Google Desktop is actually pretty darn efficient.) First problem with this idea is that MS does not offer a sidebar for Windows XP. On Vista they have one, but I've heard nothing about them porting it to Windows XP. Perhaps it is dependent on Aero, who knows.
So I thought, well what about Yahoo's Widget Engine + Microsoft's Desktop Search? Maybe that would be a comparable combination. So I tried out YWE, and found widgets that did all the things that my Google ones were doing. They had a much larger memory footprint on my system, around 2-to-1. They also took up more real estate. I only use the Google sidebar at work, where I have a dual monitor setup, so I am very sensitive about desktop real estate.
Anyways, I was unsatisfied with Yahoo's widgets, so I did not even give MS's search a try. Guess I will have to live with the MS Advert. Or maybe there's some option for turning it off.
One other interesting thing about Outlook 2007. It somehow imported all my RSS feeds. I really don't understand how this happened. I suddenly had a huge RSS folder with all my Google Reader feeds, plus a few random ones from Microsoft. My Google Desktop email widget was then overwhelmed with all these RSS files that it thought were emails received via Outlook. I have no interest in a desktop based RSS reader, as I am quite happy with Google Reader. So I deleted all the RSS that Outlook had created and downloaded. I just wish I knew how it did this. Maybe it detected it from Google Reader, who knows.
Update: One more Office 2007 issue. When I loaded Word 2007, I noticed that my PDF maker buttons were gone. These get installed when you install Adobe Acrobat. I did some searching and supposedly they should be in the "Add-Ins" tab of the ribbon. But I had no Add-Ins tab. Just for kicks, I opened up Acrobat and tried to create a new PDF from a Word document. It crashed Acrobat. I went back to Word 2007, and simply printed my document to the PDF Printer that Acrobat creates. That worked great. I also downloaded Microsoft's PDF maker that is an add-on to Office 2007. It also allowed me to easily create a PDF. So I have no problems creating PDFs, which is good since that is how I like to share documentation at work. Still, I'd like my buttons back. Maybe re-install Acrobat? That's a pain, since I have to re-activate it as well...