Web search giant Google has unveiled the first nonbeta version of its Google Desktop Search tool, which lets Windows users search for files on the PC as well as search for information on the Internet. Google rolled out the first beta version of Google Desktop Search in October 2004.
"Google Desktop Search brings the power of Google to your personal information on your own computer," Google Cofounder and Products President Larry Page said last fall. "As easily as searching Google, you can instantly search your files, local email, the Web pages you have seen, and more. It's free, installs quickly, and keeps completely up-to-date. Google Desktop Search represents a quantum leap in access to your own information."
Since the October 2004 beta release, Google has somewhat improved the Desktop Search tool. The product now natively supports non-Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, for example, and no longer indexes password-protected files, an action that got the company into trouble with privacy experts. The release version of Google Desktop Search also gives users the option of indexing secure Web pages. The tool can now search the contents of Adobe PDF, music, and video files, the company says.
Since Google shipped the beta tool, a host of competitive products has appeared. Companies such as Copernic, Microsoft/MSN, X1, and Yahoo! have shipped prerelease desktop search tools, and some, such as those from Copernic and Microsoft, offer advanced functionality not found in the Google product. Google Desktop Search, like most of its competition, is available for free download.