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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, March 7, 2005

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In the News

- Beta No More: Google Unleashes Desktop Search Tool
- Foreigner Takes the Reins at Sony

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Beta No More: Google Unleashes Desktop Search Tool

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.

Foreigner Takes the Reins at Sony

In a bold and unexpected move, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has taken the rare step of hiring a non-Japanese executive as CEO. This is the first time a foreigner has run Sony, making the sudden downfall of former Sony CEO and Chairman Nobuyuki Idei the biggest management upheaval in the company's history and a sign that the suddenly flailing company is serious about turning around its electronics business.
Sony announced early this morning that Howard Stringer, a 63-year-old American citizen who was born in Wales, will run the company. Previously a journalist and an executive at CBS News, Stringer ran Sony's US entertainment operations until his promotion. In that role he streamlined Sony's movie and music businesses and turned the divisions around financially.
Stringer's ascension to the top of Sony came after an emergency board meeting in Tokyo. During the meeting, Idei and his second in command stepped down, and the board approved Stringer's CEO nomination. At stake is the suddenly crowded consumer electronics business, which has seen upstart Apple Computer steal market share with its surprisingly successful iPod line. Industry analysts have long argued that Sony--which essentially invented the portable entertainment market with its Walkman line of products--should have been able to counter the iPod threat. Instead, Sony's poorly designed MP3 players have languished in the market.
Sony should be credited with acting decisively in a time of crisis, however. And although the company's shares have been taking a beating since 2003 and some of its product lines have underperformed, Sony still has an amazing portfolio of products that includes consumer electronics, movies, games, music, and even financial services. The company's line of VAIO PCs and notebooks is well regarded, and Sony's core products--TVs, DVD players, and similar products--are still highly sought after by consumers.

==== Events and Resources ====

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