'You've Got Mail' -- and Ads, Courtesy of Microsoft
Posted by spy on June 3 2006, 9:03 AM.
Posted in Windows Live.
NEW YORK -- It was only a matter of time before advertising
found its way onto the desktop. Microsoft is
releasing Active Search today, an automated function that scans users' e-mails
and then displays potential search terms related to that e-mail, along with
text-based paid search ads.Active Search is being
released within Windows Live Mail Desktop, Microsoft's new e-mail application
and is one of the first examples of how the company plans to deliver free
ad-supported software to users through its recently launched Live initiative.
Currently Live Mail is being used by a select group of users in a controlled
beta test. Like Google's Gmail application, Active
Search "reads" the content of users' e-mails automatically and then pulls
together a list of keywords. However, unlike Gmail, the new product
automatically lists a group of keywords or phrases in the upper right hand
corner of its inbox just above a search box. Users, if interested, can click on
these keywords or enter searches of their own.The
idea is to allow users to quickly search the Web without having to jump back and
forth from their inbox to the Web. "The hope is that this doesn't impede someone
reading their e-mail," said Aly Valli, senior product planner, Microsoft
adCenter.Advertisers will have two options to
place text ads within Windows Live Mail via Active Search. Paid search text
links served by Microsoft's new adCenter product will be displayed when users
conduct specific searches. In addition, as users browse through e-mails,
contextually relevant ads—served by Microsoft-partner Kanoodle—will be displayed
to the right of each message.Microsoft says they
have taken great pains to ensure that consumers' privacy is protected, and that
no personally identifiable information is used by advertisers (or Microsoft
itself). Of course, Google received significant criticism when it originally
launched Gmail a few years ago. Users of Windows
Live Mail will receive an e-mail message explaining in detail just how Active
Search works, and they will have the ability to turn Active Search off.