Whidbey Launch, Live.com and Me

Wow, I can't believe it's been nearly 3 months since my last post. Time does fly by. Well, a lot has happened in the interim.

We finally closed on the last few remaining bugs in Visual Studio 2005 and .NET 2.0 and this Monday, the products were officially lauched!!! It was just over three years ago that I joined Microsoft, and very soon, got involved in the early planning and development of Whidbey. I never imagined at that time what a huge release this was going to be. I now believe the productivity boost between .NET v1 and v2 is almost as much as the one between Win32/MFC and .NET itself! It is a great feeling to see something one contributed to being put to use by thousands of people worldwide. Many of you should feel proud too, given how the suggestions, bug reports and feedback you gave have so directly influenced the product.

Another major development in the last couple of weeks was ofcourse the whole Live services announcement. I played around a bit with the new Live.com page (cool url too!) and found it cool enough to make it my new home page. I have tweaked it to view several news sources (BBC, NYT, Rediff etc), sports and tech news (Slashdot ofcourse!), weather and stock quotes all on the same page, arranged and customized to my satisfaction.

One more thing, of a more personal nature. With Whidbey having shipped, I decided it was time for me to take on a different kind of challenge. Web search and information retrieval have always been very interesting to me. Google has obviously built a great search engine, but in my mind, search is far from a solved problem. As just one example, today, the onus is on the user to come up with a suitable set of keywords that you can enter to get the answers you want. Many a time, it is hard to come up with the right combination of words to express your thoughts, and the search engine often does not get the context right. Anyway, there is a lot we can do to improve the web search experience, and there are so many challenges here, like scale and relevance. Scoble and others have recently helped spark an active discussion in the blogosphere on the state of web search, and have challenged MSN Search to address these questions.

So I was intrigued and interviewed with the MSN Search development team, and found a lot of smart and passionate people there committed to take on this challenge. I have since accepted an offer from them and joined the team as of last week! It is definitely a great experience so far, and there is so much exciting stuff going on.

What happens to my blog? Well, I will continue to blog about Whidbey stuff for a while, since there are some cool things I have been meaning to write about. I may also start blogging about Search at some point, although it is still early days now. The Search team already has an active blog, as does Ken Moss, our general manager, famous in the blogosphere for his recent challenge to Mini-Microsoft.

Do give MSN Search and the new Live.com a try!