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Google and you

Did a quick hit about this in my blogmark feed this morning, but now I think it deserves a bit more room. As you’ve no doubt heard Google launched a new desktop search tool. In the past, I’ve tried a few (Copernic, more recently Blinkx, for example) and been unimpressed. They’ve either been clunky or resources hogs — rendering my aging home computer almost useless. Google Desktop Search looks different; the app isn’t always running and the index is more efficient (even if it covers less files than some right now); Danny Sullivan is already raving about it in Search Engine Watch.

Index efficiency aside, the killer feature is its smart integration with Google’s main Web site. Install it and a new tab appears at the Google homepage that lets you search your computer seemingly from their Web site. (You don’t — the index is stored on your computer alone.) Then, when searching the Web, Google can also show the results of the a desktop search on the same page. Combine this with GMail and you could, also

  1. search for an email,
  2. see the email displayed on the Google Desktop Search Page,
  3. and reply to the email via GMail.

The whole thing becomes a self-supporting system. For more on this idea, John Battelle outlines five reasons explaining what this could all mean.

The tool is Microsoft-specific right now. Not only is that a smart choice given the most widely-used software programs on the planet are from Microsoft It also fires a shot across the bow of the Redmond-based computer giant. AOL has heard that shot and is leaking information about its own desktop search (powered by someone other than Google), which may be tied with an AOL-branded browser. The latter is rumoured to be using Internet Explorer for its backend; might the former be using a Microsoft service, too?

By the way, support for Mozilla Foundation products in the Google Desktop Search shouldn’t be too far behind. The delay may explain the Google-related Mozilla bugs (if so, a Gecko-based GBrowser may be just a dream).