back to article Microsoft cries foul over Google Outlookware

Update: This story has been updated to include comment from Microsoft and better represent the dispute If you install Google's new Redmond-battling Outlook plug-in, it automatically disables Microsoft's Windows desktop search service. And Microsoft is peeved. Last week, as part of its ongoing effort to destroy Microsoft …


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  1. John G Imrie

    Source for the goose

    Compare and Contrast

    So M$ installing a plug-in to Firefox with out telling any one = OK

    Google disabling the desktop indexer = Foul

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    is anybody else...

    fucking tired of being a pawn? scew google, screw microsoft and screw everybody else that tries to make my life easier by giving me features I don't want.

  3. Martin Lyne

    "Instant Search"

    So, what Microsoft are saying is "if you install Google Synch your computer will run faster"? Interesting..

    Instant Search is one of those "takes you to the microsoft site and then fails to install" items for me.

    While we're here: Anyone that uses Categories in the newest outlooks will have noticed a chain of emails lose their category, so you have to manually assign EVERY EMAIL a category. MS did build the ability to make categories follow a convo but.. you have to turn it on. How? Edit the beautifully designed Registry. Marvellous.

    (I actually think Outlook is one of the best things out of Redmond recently, but if you;re going to make a nice new function to help people, follow the fucker through!)

    Gmail/Apps + Outlook does open up the possibility of another Gmail outage then causing Outlook to mess up so you are totally devoid of email. Lovely!

    Chances are, if you are installing third party plug-ins for outlook it's because you aren't getting the shiny service and fulfilment that MS seems to have deluded itself into thinking it's providing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ha ha microsoft

    About time Microsoft had a taste of their own medicine.

    I trust Google's version of events over theirs any day of the week.

  5. TheOtherMe

    Good Thing That!

    Well it seems to me that Google has done something right. The first thing we did when MS introduced desktop search was to disable it on all machines AS IT IS A RESOURCE HOG!! If MS had a decent search utility that didn't require 100% CPU for extended periods to do it's job then maybe people would use it?

    Alternately if L'users weren't as thick as two short planks and actually stored stuff in logical places then there would never need to be a 'search' function. But I know that's not going to happen, even IT people aren't always that sensible with their files.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Biter bit

    NFT except that Opera's search is faster than either.

  7. Doug Glass

    All For Naught

    Google will do a hostile takeover of Microsoft in Q1 2011.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Is there a decent Outlook search?

    > Using Outlook with Instant Search turned off

    I'm confused... There's an "Instant Search" option? Where? How can I turn it on?

    I'm forced to use Outlook at work and searching for e-mails takes ~5-10min. A quicker search would be welcome.

    > Windows Desktop Search

    Ah, do I have to install that to get Outlook search to work? If I install it, is it going to sit in the background using 100% of my disk bandwidth to build a useless index of all the files on my disk, like MS Office 97 Fast Find and Windows XP Indexing Service used to do?

    (To clarify: I _only_ want a find for Outlook e-mail messages. If I want to find a file on disk I'll drop into a Cygwin shell and use the UNIX command-line "find" command.)

  9. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Ye Gads

    As much as I hate to side with MS, they have a point - Google *should not* automatically change settings belonging to other apps. And no, I don't care if MS was caught doing the same thing previously: "But *he* does it" is an excuse used by 5-year-olds.

    Google would have been better served by putting up a window explaining that Desktop search, etc... could cause problems with the plug-in and asking permission to turn them off. And if the user says "no", then they take their chances.

    I am surprised at Google - I run ZoneAlarm and Avast on the same Vista laptop, and ZoneAlarm (when it realises Avast is running at the same time) kindly reminds me that some of its features do not play well with Avast when both are running at the same time, and would I like to disable *ZoneAlarm's* features. NOTE THIS: ZA asks me if I want to turn off ZA's features, not Avast's.

    In comparison, Google and MS both sound like little kids fighting in a sandpit over the plastic trowel.

  10. Wolf 1

    So Google screwed up

    It happens, especially when you aren't familiar with the system you're mucking about with. Google folks are Linux, right? What do they know about Windows?

    And thus they screwed up. At least if you're not wearing a tinfoil hat that is. A tinfoil type would say they deliberately torpedoed MS. But "do no evil", right?

    Of course if I was to learn that some user-with-delusions-of-adequacy downloaded this plugin because "Vista sucks" then I'd be a mite peeved. And tempted to let that user lie in the bed they made. Ah, fantasies. Everybody needs a few...

  11. James Loughner
    Gates Halo

    I turn it off

    First thing I do with a Windoz machine is turn off the indexing. I highly recommend it,

  12. Goo


    @ b - No way i'm not sick of it. I welcome Google with open arms. What they have done is fucking amazing and it's all FREE . They have yet to demonstrate any activity which is not in the consumers interest. Upgrades, additions and improvements should never be stifled. Fuck Microsoft having this opinion the hypocritical fuckheads. Crying foul over something they are guilty of many times over. They should be honoured that Google is stooping to their level and developing plugins to help improve their fucking products.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    microshaft the oxymoron


    By Goo Posted Thursday 18th June 2009 01:55 GMT"


    so I guess that Bill & Steve aren't on your christmas card list then...

    Fuggin A....wesome

    BTW. Microsoft that an oxymoron....they couldn't fing their own navel ( or a-hole) if they tried......

  14. Jimbo 7
    Thumb Down


    I like Windows Desktop Search 4 more than Google Search 2. If nothing else if offers much easier to read and sort results. Google search result is web page or better say in some cases 100 web pages very hard to go through. I use Windows Search on almost 10GB PST files and works good.

    No matter what you think about Microsoft, this is BS. Clearly this was not a bug but by purpose disabled service. Google just shows that they are just another huge company who does not care about users but their money only.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft peeved?

    Remember WordPerfect? Netscape?

    A case of "the biter bit" !

  16. k d

    Don't Be Evil much for...

  17. Rick Giles


    Micro$oft is upset because someone is doing something to there software that they object to?


    Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    While I tend to be on Google's side with this

    The only acceptable way to do this is to give user a clear notification and refuse to install if the user chooses to keep existent Outlook functionality. Oh, and make sure the uninstall restores the system to its previous state. Any other alternative is totally rude and intolerable. An application that does not pass these requirements will never land on my PC no matter who wrote it and how useful it purports to be.

  19. spegru


    Not sure if it's a totally fair comparison,but I'd just like to say that Thunderbird (Firefox's email equivalent from Mozilla) is WAY faster at searching than outlook on my machine.

    So much so thta I never bother with folders as I can always find stuff so fast anyway.

    So nice to have exactly the same app on windows linux and (I think) Mac too.

    Oh and another trick (which to be fair I beleive you can also do in outlook although the function is well buried) is to leave emails on server. Means you can pick them up from another machine or webmail

  20. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Next up: new Google plugin disables Windows, uses Linux

    No, it doesn't exist yet - but *that* would be entertaining. Sure, it would lack a certain subtlety but I would break out the popcorn if that happened :-).

  21. Humph

    Typical Microsoft really

    You use Outlook and its icon gets dumped into quick start bar whether you want it to or not. Outlook overwrites Thunderbird as default mail client whether you want it to or not. Someone other than Microsoft perform a similar "enhancement" and Microsoft cry foul?

    This is my caring face. Looks remarkably like my couldn't give a damn face.

  22. Chris Beach

    Fix it?

    Instead of whinging maybe MS could fix the bug that caused Google to turn of the indexer?

    Do people really think that Google would make such a choice for fun? or spite?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    They did everyone a favour!

    The Microsoft Search service is only supposed to initiate when the CPU has been idling.

    It doesn't

    It runs all the time.

    It slows your box down significantly.

    I disabled mine and all other apps immediately ran a LOT smoother, For the record, I'm using a dual core 2Ghz PC with 2GB of Ram.

    Thanks Google

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Goo etc.

    Missing the point here, by a long way.

    Goo <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------->the point

    It is not Google's computer, nor Microsoft's, nor is it a case of Google and Microsoft having a pathetic childish tiff that we can look on with amusement for a few minutes and then get on with life.

    It is *my* computer. Not theirs. Mine.

    Fine, if they have a solution to a problem, good. Also if their software is incompatible with someone else's and a fix is necessary, but they have a moral obligation (at least) to tell me exactly what they need to do and the implications of doing it.

  25. Tim Parker

    @ Jimbo7

    "Clearly this was not a bug but by purpose disabled service. "

    Um, yes - very clearly indeed. Googled admitted they very deliberately disabled the service. That, and some other details, are in the small writey bits between the title and the comments section.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Desktop Search

    If Google warned users that it would do this before installation then that's OK. But if they did it without informing users then that's not acceptable, and it wasn't acceptable when Microsoft did it either.

    "Ah, do I have to install that to get Outlook search to work? If I install it, is it going to sit in the background using 100% of my disk bandwidth to build a useless index of all the files on my disk, like MS Office 97 Fast Find and Windows XP Indexing Service used to do?"

    You can change what it indexes (at least in the version included with Vista), so can set it to only index Outlook.

  27. Mark Fenton
    Gates Horns

    Search on Outlook 2007... hidden. The "advanced find" context menu option is no longer there. You can still use it though by press ctrl-shift-F. Why MS have hidden it I don't know.

    I know this because I disabled Desktop Search on my vista installation (I have never had any problems finding my documents -so I don't need another service slowing my machine down) and then the search options went awol in Outlook 2007.

    I've since gone back to Outlook 2003 because it is way faster...but that is another story.

  28. nuxnix
    Black Helicopters

    How to remove annoying Instant Search nag prompt from Outlook 2007

    Windows Desktop search is a hateful, and once you remove it manually from your PC it warns you it may cause problems with other applications. What that cryptice message decodes as means is it will nag you about it and cajole you to reinstal it in Microsoft Applications. I wrote how to disable the nagging. Its easy once you find it. (updated to refer to this article)

  29. JohnG

    MS will lose this round

    Google should have warned users that Desktop Search was going to be disabled - that was a silly mistake. However, as Google pointed out, had they left it enabled, Desktop Search would have got stuck trying to index Google data - where's the sense in that?

    I'm sure Microsoft would like the idea of "Desktop Search can't index Google data" implies "Can't install Google's Outlook add-on until supported by Desktop Search" and "We will never write the required support into Desktop Search" implies "Google's Outlook add-on can never be installed". I was a bit silly expecting that Google would go along with that thinking though.

    Like others here, I always disable the various search indexing services in Windows. I don't search that often, so the penalty of resources permanently used by search indexing is unacceptable. If MS provided a means to restrain the resources used by Desktop Search according to user preference, it might not be so unpopular.

  30. Chris Bradshaw

    memo to self - title goes here

    'Evidently, Windows Desktop Search will hang itself trying to index Google stuff' It sounds like Microsoft has an inter-operation issue* to fix before they start complaining. Google did the right thing in disabling Desktop Search during install of the Google app, although I think a pop-up explaining it would be good.

    If I didn't trust M$**, I would guess that their non-interoperation with Google's app is deliberate - it is certainly Microsoft's style to force users to use M$ products by crippling the interaction with non-M$ products.

    If I didn't trust Google***, I would guess that they used the M$ issue to their advantage - they have a good excuse to screw up M$, so they used it. I just hope it doesn't backfire and make these Windows users happier now their OS is faster...

    * read 'bug' or 'design flaw'

    ** I don't

    *** I don't totally, but they are much better than M$

  31. Keith_C
    Gates Halo

    To those who turn off search...

    ...try actually *using* it for a while first - and let it actually build its indexes before slating it for disk/CPU load.

    It was one of the features I most enjoyed in Vista, and in W7 it has been improved still further. After you let it build, which can take a few days to properly settle down, it enables me to search not just my own mailbox in a couple of seconds, but also indexes our shared mailboxes - and will include results from them just as quickly. Just checked, and my index has some 160k+ items in it, the very vast majority of which are email items. It even looks inside recognized attachments in emails and indexes them too.

    The load it places on a system while generating the indexes takes but a few days. The benefits give you value for months. Once it's built the indexes the load to maintain them is minimal, there's very little ongoing CPU or disk load.

  32. PeterM42

    Microsoft vs Google search

    Microsoft never have been able to "do search" - so disabling their search is probably a very GOOD THING. I had terrible trouble with searching until I realised the so-called "Windows Search 4.0" had installed along with security fixes and bug-fixes, but was able to remove it via Add/Remove programs. Ah! - that's better! Searching now works.

    Microsoft should leave "searching" to Google who do it a gazillion times better than Microsoft.

  33. Stuart 22

    Outlooks great for Google

    I dumped Outlook on desktops long ago. But i was stuck with it on my Windows Mobile PDA & Phone. Wonderful now Google have emulated an Exchange Server so I can sync with my Google contacts & calendar. Choice of server host is always good.

    Nice to see those still stuck on Outlook can also be nicely served by Google.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Instant" search is just frakking annoying.

    I'm happy to wait slightly longer to search for things if it means I can actually use my computer the rest of the time. Arguably Google were _fixing_ a bug.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @So Google screwed up

    No, Google folks are not Linux. Linux is just a OS kernel. Apart from the Beos derived (Beos is not Linux) Haiku project, Google don't do operating systems, only services and software.

    Maybe you are confusing that Linux is open-source and SOME of Google's stuff is open-source so that makes Google=Linux. By your logic then, M$ now have a open-source license, so M$ is now Linux, so M$ don't now about Windows which is self evident. Very clever Wolf1, I am impressed.

  36. nichomach
    Thumb Down

    I'm with Neoc

    The problem here is that Google should only EVER be making automatic changes to their OWN applications' settings (and even then it'd be nice if they informed people). Stepping outside that and disabling other applications because Google's stuff can't play nicely with them is completely out of order. Losing indexing in WDS is nasty, but losing the Outlook Connector is bloody disgraceful. Yes, MS shouldn't have dropped the .Net plugin into Firefox without asking, but firstly, at least that didn't disable other applications, and secondly, as Neoc eloquently poiints out, "he did it first" is an excuse that should have been left in the playground. Fail, Google, fail.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Good Thing That!

    "if L'users weren't as thick as two short planks and actually stored stuff in logical places then there would never need to be a 'search' function." Huh? People don't only search for filenames, and in the absence of a database file system you can't locate and name every file of thousands according to every criterion (date, genre, etc.)! Search will always be needed.

  38. Nigel 11

    Sauce for the goose ...

    I installed MS .net through Windows Update and it installed a non-removeable plug-in to my Firefox without asking me. Seems extremely hypocritical for MIcrosoft to be complaining when they get a bit of the same from Google.

  39. Mike Barton


    Jimbo 7 you crack me up.. The indexing service is one of the many services I disable on any Windows machine. I will be interested to see how many services need turning off in Win7.

  40. Efros
    Paris Hilton

    How many

    Users actually need an indexed search system, I bet it's nowhere near the number that have Googles search (tried it uninstalled it) or MS search/fastfind (never installed in the frist place), if you need to find something instantly, smarten up your act and use a logical storage regime. Desktop searches of whatever flavour cripple your machine, Fastfind was a bugger when it used to be installed by default back in the day, it could bring a system to its knees with no indication to an inexperienced user what the hell was going on. Moral of the story: make task manager your friend, get to know the running processes, if there is one that is hogging resources find out what it is and then decide whether to nuke it.

    Paris cos she knows an arse from an elbow!

  41. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    No to both.

    I don't have any MS or Google software on my machines.

    MS mainly because they don't do stuff for Linux. Google because they have a history of making sneaky little changes to your machine without telling you they are going to do it.

    I can live perfectly happilly without both these corporations. Try it for yourself, it can only improve your life.

  42. Lionel Baden

    small bonus

    hate indexing

    only ever need to search every few months would rather the search just took an extra 3 min

  43. Ray0x6
    Jobs Horns

    Suboptimal experience

    Is using Outlook.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    There's an outlook plugin for hotmail?

    So it's back? Strange because I remember when MS canned their Hotmail plugin for Outlook. They gave us a whole load of BS by way of an explaination.

    I've always wondered "why can't MS just have pop3/smtp or imap servers?"

    Google are in fact doing us all a favour by disabling the desktop search. It's a resource hog and if you haven't already disabled it then please do it now, you'll thank me.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with Neoc II

    The crappiness - or otherwise - of windows search is *entirely* beside the point.

    I mean really completely totally beside the point. It's arrogant behaviour on google's behalf - and no number of googlesheep on this thread persuade me otherwise.

    google are the new MS. But with the same arrogant attitude to customers. Fuck them both.

  47. P. Lee

    If you have nothing to hide, nothing to fear

    then you can turn on generic indexing on your computer.

    Me? I want the data I have to stay where I put it, not show up all over the place.

  48. Simon B
    Black Helicopters

    Google more evil than M$ ever was!

    Google far surpass M$ when it comes to the evil stakes, it seems everything Google does is evil.

  49. Wolf 1

    @@So Google screwed up

    Hadn't had my caffine yet. :) What I meant was that Google uses Linux systems internally in their servers--if I recall correctly they actually use a customized version of Linux. This means their programmers are experts on *Linux*, but not necessarily Windows--as this incident proves.

    On the other hand, if they silently (and deliberately) disabled the search index process it means they committed a faux pas. If their files do cause the search index process to fail the polite thing to do would have been to inform MS.

    Certainly they should have informed the *user* and given them the choice of not installing the product. You have to wonder how Google files break the indexing process tho--I'm curious about the actual mechanism since nothing else breaks it.

    Finally, it is Google that's to blame for leaving the service disabled when you uninstall the plugin. That's just plain Fail no matter how you spin it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scorpion #1, meet Scorpion #2.

    Now, into the pit and...


    Somebody pass the popcorn please.

  51. Jimbo 7

    to @Mike Barton

    "Jimbo 7 you crack me up.. The indexing service is one of the many services I disable on any Windows machine. I will be interested to see how many services need turning off in Win7."

    You can disable anything you want, thats your choice no matter if it is XP, Vista or 7. This is really not the point here, yes you might not like the service, it still does not mean that other software company disables it without you being notified. That is BS. I use MS Search and actually like it more than Google Desktop Search (yes I tried both for a while) because the query result is presented in much easier to work with format.

  52. Inachu
    Thumb Up


    I am so livid about Windows Desktop search!

    I have a Quadcore pc with 3 gigs of ram and tried WDS and it slows the pc down by 30%!!!!

    I call that EVIL!

    I do not even like Google desktop search tool as it does the same thing and slows my pc down.

  53. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    An emerging trend...

    First we had the Firefox add-in that attacked its rival. Then we had the Microsoft add-in that broke Firefox. Now we have the Google add-in that breaks Outlook. (And quite a long time ago we had the Sony rootkit debacle.)

    What's the position of the AV vendors on this? Do any of these products detect that there is software on your system that (maliciously or otherwise) has an unauthorised harmful effect on your system? Are any of them pointing the finger at these malware merchants?

    Thought not, and they can hardly complain that this is obscure software or that it has only recently been discovered. Their raison-d'etre is responding to new threats, before they become widespread. No, the truth is that AV software doesn't protect you against the real threat to your computer -- programmers who think *they* own the machine, not you.

  54. muttley

    Hysterical FUD, nothing gets broken...

    Type your search string into your google apps-savaged Outlook search box and whack the enter key - and within a couple of seconds the results are returned. I'm not missing instant search here.

    It is actually a pretty impressive achievement from google (aside from the continuous sync errors being returned during the initial mail sync - which can take a little while with a decade of .pst to upload lol). It's hardly surprising that MS are worried.

    And what's wrong with Windows search on Vista anyway - it is blindingly fast and does what it is supposed to? Only a 'tard would get annoyed by a MS product actually working.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Competition is good...

    Sheesh Microsoft, scared of ya little olde Exchange eh. It doesn't do anything more than email... ahhhahhahdhdhhdhahahahha. Godda love competition...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    all the commentards that say MS did it first

    and my Dad's bigger than yours

  57. northern monkey


    "Remember WordPerfect?"

    Yes, somewhere I still have a keyboard with all the lettering on the function keys worn away.

  58. Jwalk

    Why does everbody trust Google???

    I´m sorry, i can not accept, that a google application kills my instant search and the only thing Google recommends is, to install Google Desktop Search to handle that problem. That is ridiculous. I just can lough about something like that.

    Another problem i see with google is the data protection. I can not trust google about something like that!!! And i don´t want google to know everything of me (maybe they do anyway).

    No company in our world releases software/tools/anything for free (Google included). This is a fact.

    For doing searches in Outlook i can recommend Lookout (only Outlook 2003), or a similar tool called Lookeen (works with Outlook 03/07). These tools are doing a great job and they won´t kill your Computer and, for me essential, they are confidential.

  59. Chika


    Heh. No, not everybody trusts Google. But then I don't really trust either side.

    As for the guy that earlier stated that it was "his" computer, it strikes me that he/she/it hasn't read the small print in the EULA recently! Unless, of course, said user wants to try their hand at writing their own OS...

    Oooo, look! New piccies!

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