Responding to the leak of screenshots and information about its forthcoming MSN desktop search tool, a Microsoft representative contacted me yesterday. He noted that although the leaked screenshots are real, the information wasn't news because Microsoft had already revealed the existence of this tool.

"We have publicly stated for some time that it is our intention to release a beta of our new desktop search technology by the end of the calendar year in the US," Justin Osmer, product manager for MSN Search, said. "We have already demonstrated our efforts with some early prototypes. The timeline for the project is being driven by the quality of the service we can provide. It still is our intention to release a beta of our new desktop search technology by the end of the calendar year in the \[United States?\], as we continue to gather feedback from our beta users."

Coincidentally, the MSN desktop search developers also issued a public blog recently, and one post reiterates some of the comments noted above, while adding, "As you may have heard, some screenshots from an internal prerelease build of MSN's desktop search product were recently posted on the Neowin site. While we're flattered by the attention and interest, this was an unauthorized disclosure." The blog makes for interesting reading, although it's still young and has only a few posts. You can find the blog on the MSDN Web site .