I just installed the new MSN Search Toolbar, which includes an updated version of the Windows Desktop Search utility and adds tabbed browsing capabilities to Internet Explorer 6.
First reactions: The search tool absolutely rocks, and the degree to which you can customize it is very, very impressive. For now, at least, it’s going to replace Copernic Desktop Search on my machine.
Tabbed browsing is promising, although not nearly as smooth or configurable as Firefox or Maxthon. My biggest complaint so far is that new links I open from an external source (like NewsGator Outlook Edition) open in a new window. That kind of defeats the purpose of tabbed browsing, and I can’t see how to override that behavior. I’m sure there’s a way; if anyone’s found it, drop me a note in the comments.
Also, I’d really like to be able to close an open page by double-clicking its tab (or open a new blank tab by double-clicking in the empty space of the tab bar). Both Firefox and Maxthon do this, and the IE add-on should do the same.
Biggest benefit is that I can return to using IE with several of my favorite add-ins that aren’t supported elsewhere: BlogJet, Fiddler, and the Send To OneNote PowerToy are three that come immediately to mind.
Asa Dotzler of the Firefox team tried the MSN Toolbar “for about 15 minutes” last night and posted his capsule review: “It sucks.” Today, he says he tried it for another 15 minutes: “I’ve revised my opinion some; it _really_ sucks.” Underestimating the competition is always a bad idea, Asa. This version of the toolbar appears less than four weeks after the original version shipped. As Google has already shown, you can incrementally improve and deliver a browser toolbar component very quickly.
Update: After spending a few hours with the MSN add-in, I think I’ll turn off the tabbed browsing function and go back to using Maxthon. The Windows Desktop Search capability is slick and polished, but the tabbed browsing add-on feature is very poorly implemented. As Asa points out, there are some serious bugs in this portion of the code that render it unusable. If you switch to full-screen view (press F11), all other tabs close. That sucks.
Hey, MSN, are you listening?