The program puts Google one step ahead of Microsoft and Yahoo in the battle to become the default search tool for both the web and the desktop. More importantly, it puts Google front and center in Windows PCs, helping to establish the company's dominance not just in the search business but as a nexus of your computing experience. If I worked at Microsoft, I'd be very concerned.
This is Google's second desktop search program. The first one, like current offerings from Microsoft, Yahoo and Copernic, lets users type in one or more words and instantly locates e-mail and files containing the search words. The new version also does that, but it has several additional features.
Google has further enhanced its search capability to locate files and messages, using a new feature called Quick Find. As soon as you start to type, the new search tool starts to narrow down the search. Type F and it will find all files that begin with F. Type FID and you'll narrow it down to those that begin with FID including Fido, Fidel and Fidelity. Keep typing and you keep narrowing down the search.
This is similar to the Spotlight program that Apple offers with its new Tiger operating system. Microsoft has said that it, too, will have a more advanced desktop search function in Vista, its long awaited successor to Windows XP that is due out late next year.
The search box can be programmed to search the web, your computer, news or other Google services, but you can easily override the default. For example, if you've set the default to search the web, you can still have it search your desktop by pressing Ctrl D after you enter a search string. If you type Ctrl N it will search Google News and if you type Ctrl I it will search images. Typical of Google, search is very fast.