Many Americans mistakenly conclude they have a rare illness after attempting self-diagnosis on the Internet, according to a new study by researchers are Microsoft. The company conducted the study to improve its own search engine.

Microsoft studied health-related Web searches on popular search engines and surveyed 500 of its employees about their health-related searching.

Web search engines can increase our health-related anxieties and lead us to believe worst-case scenarios, said Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz, an artificial intelligence expert and medical school graduate.

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Eager Windows fans are already downloading a very early, unfinished version of Windows 7 via bit torrent. The successor to Vista is not expected in its final form until 2010.

People who write Windows programs recently got a sneak peak of Windows 7. Many reviewers say the new OS – even though it’s just in a state called “pre-beta,” looks pretty stable

Future Tense news analyst Dwight Silverman says Windows 7 is a direct descendant of the much-maligned Vista.

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