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Searching Gets Hot for Linspire

The market capitalization of Google just passed the value of Yahoo. It's a defining moment that search was overlooked by the incumbents (AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft) and they let a fourth member into their exclusive club. Most have quickly caught up to Google's searching ability and produce similar on-target results. Now the question is where will the next search innovation come from? There are near daily announcements of toolbar proliferation - where search boxes are surrounding the user's experience, but I'm not sure that improves the that experience. It just clutters it up. At Linspire, we've been working on an improved Internet suite, which I think takes the industry in a positive direction. Our suite is based on the same Firefox engine and Mozilla technology that are garnering recent rave reviews, but we've added hundreds of usability changes and some innovations of our own.

If you're like me, about 25 times a day you do the Google dance - highlighting, copying, going to Google.com and pasting to perform a search. What a pain! Why should anyone have to go


See Hot Words in action!
through that dance when they want to do a search? Wouldn't it be great if you could just click on any word or phrase, and with a single mouse click do a search? Or how about doing a Froogle search by just pointing at a product you are interested in buying? Today, we're announcing an update to our Internet suite for all Linspire computers which makes this possible. We call this concept "Hot Words," since it makes words 'hot' so actions can be taken directly on them. Instead of requiring users to visit another website or re-key information into a toolbar field, we're embedding search directly into the operating system.

With our new Internet suite, users can point at ANY word and immediately perform a search. Simply pause your cursor over a word and it highlights, after which a mouse-click brings up a tiny list of search options for "Web, Shop, and News." Select the one you want and it will instantly perform a search, displaying the results. Another feature will auto-underline interesting words you may want to perform a search on with a thin green line. Pausing your mouse over these brings up the search options without having to click. Hot Words embeds search functionality into every web page, as well as every email message on Linspire, dramatically improving the user experience. Of course users can fine-tune the search options to best suit their needs. This is just the first step in building search directly into the operating system. I'm confident that it won't be too long before going to Google.com will be as unnecessary and old fashioned as going to Blockbuster for videos, since search will be accessible right from every program on your computer.


Say goodbye to online typos!
Another feature of Hot Words is auto-suggesting correction of spelling in email or web. Whether you're typing a message in your Linspire email program or web browser, misspelled words are conveniently underlined in red, just like your 8th grade teacher used to do. But rather than just indicate that they are misspelled, if you move your cursor over the underlined word, a list of suggestions pops up, which can be used to substitute for your mistake with a single mouse click. This even works in web forms, so if you use Google mail or other online mail, chat, or forums, you'll never be embarrassed by misspellings.

Besides Hot Words, we're also debuting a new technology called MailMinder. My day revolves around my email. I try to clear out my inbox, but often times there are certain messages or tasks I need to put off until later so I can handle more pressing issues. Those messages often pile up and get buried under new messages and I forget about them entirely. My inbox gets stuffed, then I miss a deadline or forget to follow up with a task, which makes me unhappy. MailMinder



Never lose an email again!
solves this by adding an email-based reminder service directly to my email program. With a single click, any message can be scheduled to be redelivered to the top of my inbox at a later date. From MailMinder's pop-up calendar, I can easily select any date and time in the future to have the message sent to me. I can even add notation to the message so I remember the context or the next steps for follow-up. Because the reminder is an email message, even if I'm traveling and reading mail on a web kiosk or my Treo, I still get the reminder. MailMinder is the brainchild of Linspire President Kevin Carmony who, like several Linspire employees, used to work at Franklin Covey (of day planner fame), so they know time management. It has become an indispensable tool for me to stay organized and manage my inbox. Once you've used it, you'll wonder how you ever survived without it.


Make free online phone calls!
We're also releasing an upgrade to our Instant Messenger client called PhoneGaim. We've added full voice calling capabilities to the popular Gaim instant messenger software. Linspire is partnering with SIPphone, so every PhoneGaim user can now make free worldwide calls. The number of people available to call for free today includes: all PhoneGaim users, anyone with a broadband phone (see www.siphardware.com), anyone with SIP software (see www.sipsoftware.com), more than a dozen universities, such as UCSD and UCI, landlines in Australia, and as a free bonus 5 minutes of free calling per day to more than 40 countries. I made a cable with parts from Radio Shack so I can use my wireless FreeSpeak ear piece, normally used with a mobile phone, with my laptop and PhoneGaim to make all my calls.

There are hundreds of improvements in the core Internet suite for Linspire, plus innovative new search and productivity features. I think this gives Linspire users the most advanced Internet suite of any operating system. If you're using Linspire, it's a one-click upgrade to get the entire suite loaded onto your computer using CNR technology. Let me know what you think about these new features in our forum!

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