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Category Archives: Start.com

Talking about Start.com – Multi-Search Gadget

This is one gadget you can easily add to your Start.com page – "install" instructions are below, in Scott’s post.

You might want to do some search testing, to see which search engine gives better results depending on what you’re looking for.


Start.com – Multi-Search Gadget

I wrote this Gadget at the PDC a few weeks ago.  I almost forgot about it until I saw a post on Dave Winer’s site and Channel 9’s latest Gadget video about integrating other search engines. This Gadget is similar in spirit (once you have the search results, you can choose to combine, merge, aggregate etc., them in any way you please) and illustrates that it is possible to integrate any search engine that exposes RSS feeds directly into an existing MSN site.
This Gadget currently searches 3 search engine and presents the results. I can add additional engines by simply extending an internal array (I am thinking about exposing a UI for you to add your own search engines).  You can then pin any of the search engine results onto your page.
…For now, to add this Gadget to your page:
  1. Go to http://start.com
  2. Click "Add Feeds or Gadgets" in the left menu (if the menu is not displayed, Click the "Start Preview" icon in the upper-left.
  3. In the "Add a feed or gadget by URL …" enter: http://siteexperts.com/bindings/search.xml
  4. After the Gadget downloads, I recommend adding it to your page.
  5. Click on Install (if you want this Gadget automatically installed on each visit be sure to check the checkbox)
  6. Try searching!

You will get results from MSN, Feedster, and Google. 



No more stealing your focus at Start.com

 A nice little improvement.


no more stealing your focus!

Hi folks, we just propped a simple change we think you might like.  A lot of you have been sending us feedback about how the search box steals your cursor away when the page loads.  We hear you, and we hate this too!  We’ve updated the code so that we no longer steal your focus.  If you want to type a search query, you can just start typing anywhere on the page and we’ll automatically put the focus in the search box – no need to click in the search box (thanks to our friends on the msn.com team for this one).
Hope you like it!

Get into Hotmail via Start.com

You can now get into your Hotmail via Start.com.
Just go to http://mail.start.com/ and sign in and… there it is!

Start.com goes international

Good news!

Australian users will see feeds from various Australian RSS feeds. Of course, you can keep them or remove them and replace them with your own.

See webDotWiz Online for 22-Sep-05 for some ideas and how to set up your own feeds. Remember that these feeds are automatically updated while you remain online. 



start.com goes international

Salut! start.com has been released in 9 markets 🙂
JA-JP, EN-US, ES-ES, EN-UK, FR-FR, IT-IT, ES-ES, DE-DE and EN-AU. You will now see a language option in the upper right hand corner and we will also respect your browser language/locale setting. This has been one of our most requested customer features and we hope to expand to more markets soon. 
As usual, we want to hear from you.  Please send us your feedback, email startfb or leave a comment.
enjoy! and tell all your friends abroad.

Keeping up to date

With so much information available from the ‘Net, how does one keep up with it all?
Well, you may have noticed at the bottom of your Spaces pages (in Preview mode) and other Spaces that there’s a red button labelled RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and what it allows you to do is to get just the latest bits of information that’s been added to a site. For example, you can find out the latest headlines of news items added to the ABC News site.
The biggest problem has been how to bring all these "headlines" into one place for easy reference. There are lots of pieces of software around – some free – called News Aggregators. This type of software enables us to subscribe to RSS feeds from a number of different sites and when we’re online, the aggregator will go around to all those sites we’ve subscribed to and check if there is any new content available (via the site’s RSS feed).
However a software aggregator doesn’t quite fit the bill – webDotWiz has tried one and can never remember to start it up when he goes online. As well, it’s got a whole lot of subscriptions that he doesn’t want and he can’t be bothered deleting them all.
So some Microsoft people have been experimenting with a site called Start.com. Here you can add your own content via RSS feeds from whichever sites you choose. The interface is minimalist – no fancy graphics taking up space – it’s just got the items from each feed listed.
The second part of keeping up to date with content is to read it when you want to. Start.com does this by enabling us to stay at the Start.com site by loading a page over the top of our list of content sites and this page contains the content we want to read about.
Developers have been invited to develop Gadgets which are specialised applications to add content at Start.com in an innovative manner. Already you can have content such as weather forecasts and stock quotes. Watch for more ideas to come to fruition in the future.
Go to Start.com and add feeds from some of your friends’ Spaces to see how it all works. Yes, you can use the gleam on MSN Messenger to see when your friends have updated their Space – using Start.com will enable you so see their five most recent blog entries. Have fun!