So how hot is desktop search anyway?

by Donna Fontenot December 11th, 2004 

If you look at the competition that is not just heating up, but practically boiling over, one might think that winning the war of desktop search is the key to technological world domination. Personally, desktop search doesn't excite me all that much. Sure, the old way of finding things hidden away on my computer was a drag, and having a better way to accomplish that goal is darn nice. But is darn nice really worth all that? The major players in search must think so. Google recently released its version, Copernic released its version slightly before Google, Yahoo! just announced it will have DS soon (January), Ask Jeeves will release its software on Wednesday, AOL has begun testing its DS (based on Copernic), and Microsoft will likely announce the release of its version on Monday (when it holds a teleconference to announce a new MSN service).

So the question is…why? Presumably, it is to lock people into one vendor. If you use one vendor's desktop search application, then you will more likely use that same vendor's other search services. Branding…user loyalty…the spoils go to the victor. Ok, I can understand that. Still, if other users are as complacent as I am about desktop search, is all the hype going to fall on deaf ears? Reportedly, Google has had a fairly disappointing amount of downloads for its DS. I tend to think this might extend into the rest of the forthcoming releases. Except for one possibility: When Microsoft's operating system comes bundled with its desktop search, what will people naturally use? Why download something else when you already have what you need? So, if desktop search is going to be the key to technological world domination, I think it may not open the lock to that door for at least another year or two – with the release of Longhorn.

Then again, I could be wrong. :) Regardless, isn't it fun to watch the battle?

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