Microsoft Corp has bought startup Lookout Software LLC, a startup that specialized in improving the search functionality of Microsoft Outlook. Lookout’s software will be absorbed into MSN Search.
Lookout’s software integrated with Outlook, allowing users to search e-mail, contacts, calendars, notes and task, as well as data from Exchange and local and networked files. The software has been discontinued, but the technology will be used in MSN.
The MSN vision is to take search beyond today’s basic internet search services to deliver direct answers to people’s questions, and help them find information from a broad range of sources, Microsoft said.
It’s not clear whether Microsoft will be using the technology to improve its home-made MSN Search web search engine, or whether it will use the technology in improvements to its Windows search technology.
The lines between local, networked and web search are blurring, and all the main players are putting in the building blocks for this evolution. Ask Jeeves Inc, for example, recently acquired desktop search startup Tukaroo Inc.