ELIZA has met her match. I received an email today with details on how to use MSN Messenger to query Encarta. This is a very cool feature. I've even heard that it will solve simple mathematical questions. You add encarta@conversagent.com to your MSN IM contacts list, then send an IM with questions for real-time answers, such as...

Encarta® Instant Answers says: Welcome, M3! My name is Encarta Instant Answers. I am a smart computer who can bring you the Encarta info you want right in your IM window! Type your question and I'll look it up for you!

M3 says: OK... When is Thanksgiving in Canada?

Encarta® Instant Answers says: Thanksgiving in Canada dates: Second Monday in October.

Very nice. It even provides an opportunity to open an Encarta window for more colour commentary...

Encarta® Instant Answers is inviting you to start Encarta. Do you want to accept (Alt+C) or decline (Alt+D) the invitation?

HCIT? ;)