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This week in search

Google, Yahoo in talks with TiVo over a possible deal aimed at bridging TV and the Web. Also: In Apple, Microsoft OSes, search is on.

Internet search giants Google and Yahoo are in talks with TiVo over a possible deal aimed at bridging television and the Web, CNET News.com has learned.

The talks are still fluid and could result in a number of outcomes, two sources familiar with the negotiations said.

One scenario that's been discussed would see TiVo partner with Google or Yahoo on a new service that would let consumers search for videos on the Web and then watch them on their television sets, according to one person with knowledge of the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A second person familiar with the talks said TiVo has had discussions with both Google and Yahoo about a potential equity investment, including the possibility of an outright acquisition.

Also this week, Google began offering people custom accounts for storing their personal query histories, in a move to outdo rivals and endear Web surfers. The search king's My Search History is another of its experimental services that takes a page from long-standing "My" programs from Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and others. However, unlike typical personalized portal services, such as custom stock reports and headlines, Google's feature will focus exclusively on archiving personal search histories for later recall.

Addressing consumer privacy, Google said that search history data is password-protected and stored securely on its servers. People also can pause search tracking or remove records from their histories.

The importance of search hasn't been lost on Microsoft and Apple Computer. In the next version of Windows, which is still in the early stages of development, and in the soon-to-be-released new version of Mac OS X, users won't have to know where a file is stored. Instead, both operating systems will have a search window in which people need only start typing what they remember--who created the file, what it's called, or even words within the document itself. Results will begin appearing instantly, and then early incorrect matches will be ruled out as a user continues entering information.

Judging from other product similarities, that's not the only understanding Microsoft and Apple share. Longhorn is also expected to feature composited graphics for the desktop, something Apple has had since Mac OS X's debut. The result is that Longhorn's windows will be see-through, revealing the contents of other windows or the desktop below.