Google Launches Final Desktop Search

Google Desktop Search has formally left its beta confines with a 1.0 release that adds support for Mozilla's Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail client. The software can also now run as a free-standing search box anywhere on the desktop and utilize plug-ins to extend searches to additional content types.

Google has opened up its search APIs and is encouraging software developers to "create new and innovative applications using the desktop search product." Plug-ins for indexing Trillian instant messaging logs and scanned PDFs and faxes are currently available for download.

Unlike its other search offerings, Google's Desktop Search has been quick to drop its beta moniker. The software was first unveiled last October and has been updated a handful of times since.

However, Google has found itself with fierce competition in the race to monetize the desktop, which may have pushed the company toward 1.0.

Microsoft released its own desktop search in December as part of the MSN Toolbar Suite beta. Yahoo followed suit in January with a desktop search product developed by Idea Labs' X1.

Not to be left behind, AOL launched its Copernic-based desktop search within the AOL Browser beta in early February. Ask Jeeves also made available its beta desktop search client before the end of 2004.

Despite bestowing 1.0 status on its desktop search, Google promises to keep updates coming. "We're proud to take Google Desktop Search out of beta, and we will continue to extend the utility of desktop search for users worldwide," said Jonathan Rosenberg, vice president of Product Management at Google.

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