Microsoft launches new search, buys Onfolio

Microsoft officially launches Windows Live Search (now Bing), later today.

Of course, the site at the URL ( where it will be located has been available in beta for a while, but the Seattle Post Intelligencer mentions some new features and a new design in Microsoft to release overhauled Internet search engine I guess we’ll have to wait to see exactly what comes with this “launch.”

Microsoft has purchased web application maker Onfolio, Inc., and will be bringing Onfolio founder JJ Allaire aboard. Parts of Onfolio’s web tool are being incorporated into Microsoft’s toolbar.

Allaire is also the creator of Cold Fusion. His joining Microsoft is interesting in light of his past experiences, and his knowledge of this type of search engine helper software (a term to describe tools like Onfolio, which appears to have been coined in an Always On article published a week after the launch of Onfolio almost two years ago).

I’ve been watching Onfolio publish some interesting patent applications over the past year. They’re worth looking at in light of this acquisition.

Search capture

US Patent Application 20050216452
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published: September 29, 2005
Inventors: Charles J. Teague
Assigned to Onfolio, Inc.


When a Web-browser user employs a hyperlink, a Web-information manager makes a log entry that includes the URL of the Web page containing the hyperlink and also lists the URL of the target Web page, to which the hyperlink refers.

When the user requests that a Web page be captured for later use, the Web-information manager uses the log to find the page at the root of the hyperlink chain that led to that page.

It then determines from the root page’s URL whether the root page is a search-result page. If it is, the Web-information manager infers the search specification from that URL and associates it with the page to be captured.

Sharing collection-file contents

US Patent Application 20050216528
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published September 29, 2005
Inventors: Joseph Mau-Ning Cheng
Assigned to Onfolio, Inc.


A Web-information-manager instance that makes a change in a collection file on a common storage facility shared with other instances leaves on that common storage facility an indication of a time by which the change was made and a log that identifies the data entities thus changed in that file.

While another instance is using an entity object whose contents were copied from an entity in such a collection file, it repeatedly checks a timestamp associated with that file.

If it thereby finds that a change has been made since it last checked, also reviews the entity-change log and updates its corresponding entity object if the log reflects a change since it last wrote to that object.

Local storage of script-containing content

US Patent Application 20050216825
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published September 29, 2005
Inventors: Charles J.Teague,
Assigned to Onfolio, Inc.


A Web-information manager that is to take locally stored copies of a Web page and the files to which it refers employs two versions of a downloaded Web page if the Web page includes a client-side script.

One, “source” version is the one that results from downloading the page with scripting execution disabled.

The other, “reference” version is one that results from executing the script.

It then locally stores copies of the files referred to by the resultant (potentially script-modified) reference version. And any links in the source version that refer to files thus copied are revised to refer to the local copies.

It is this source version, unmodified by the script but updated to refer to local copies of the referred-to files, that is stored for later review.

Unread-state management

US Patent Application 20050216837
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published September 29, 2005
Inventors: Donald A. Washburn
Assigned to Onfolio, Inc.


A Web-information manager monitors a user’s navigation through a display pane in which a newspaper-style display of separate items is presented, and it responds to actions that are symptomatic of a user’s reading a given item among the multiple items that the pane contains.

If the user clicks on a given item, for instance, the Web-information manager can consider it as currently being read. The cursor’s having dwelled in a single item’s display for at least a predetermined minimum duration also triggers the Web-information manager to consider that item as being read. The Web-information manager thereby keeps track of which items have already been read and which ones have not.

Editing multi-layer documents

US Patent Application 20050216886
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published September 29, 2005
Inventor: Donald A. Washburn
Assigned Onfolio, Inc.


A software tool for dealing with multi-layer documents provides the user with a display of a first of a multi-layer document’s pages for editing and additionally affords the user the capability of providing an input that represents specifying a location within the displayed page and selecting an HTML object that need not already exist as a sub-page in the multi-layer page.

In response to receiving such an input, the tool imports the selected object as a new sub-page and inserts a link to the new page at the specified location.

Retaining custom item order

US Patent Application 20050240489
Filed: March 14, 2005
Published October 27, 2005
Inventor: Brian M. Lambert
Assigned to Onfolio, Inc.


A Web-information manager stores items captured in Web research. It displays groups of such items and enables the user to move them around in the display so as to specify a custom order.

It retains a specification of that order not only between times when the group is displayed but sometimes also while the group is being displayed in a different order. The user can therefore return to the custom order even after employing a different order.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft launches new search, buys Onfolio”

  1. I believe this is a great thing that Microsoft is getting more serious about its search offerings.

    This along with should push Google to enhance and upgrade their products as well.

    This type of competition is just what is needed to bring search to the next level it needs to be.

  2. Hi Gary,

    The more competition, the better.

    AOL even seems to be making somewhat of a comeback.

    All of this makes marketing and SEO more complex, but it also does provide the possibility that competition will improve what search has to offer. And that’s a big positive.

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