Despite recent rumors that Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) beta product, Gmail, might launch imminently, it seems that Google's Desktop Search product beat it to the punch. Today, Google unveiled the product in an official launch, with a few added features.
According to Google's press announcement, the release adds features like the ability to search the full text of PDFs, and the information stored with music, image, and video files. Google Desktop Search is now also compatible with some of the upstarts challenging Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) cadre of products, including the Netscape and Firefox browsers and additional email clients, such as those from Netscape and Mozilla's Thunderbird. Google adds that its additional claims to fame are full-text Web history searches as well as searches of Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AIM communications.
Furthermore, Google has added a tool that allows developers to come up with plug-ins for use with Desktop Search. Examples of such enhancements include searches of the Trillian messaging product, which allows for compatibility between the messaging applications provided by AOL, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , and Microsoft's MSN.
We've known for quite some time that Google has continued to come up with ways to haunt users' computerized real estate and stay there. After all, it faces the serious competition posed by the Internet heavyweights named above, and then some. Desktop search is another way to drill down into your daily activities (as well as provide ways to leverage its strength in online advertising, of course).
On the other hand, given the strong rumors to the effect that Gmail was leaving beta testing, one might wonder what's going on with that, seeing how Desktop Search was in beta for a mere five months, while Gmail has been in beta testing coming up on a year. (The service was originally announced on our favorite holiday, April Fool's Day -- which made some of us wonder if a gig of email storage was just a big joke.) Several weeks ago, many Gmail users found that they had been given 50 invitations -- a rather outrageous sum indeed. It sounded about as close to a launch as it can get without official word, but so far, all's been mum about Gmail's status.
At any rate, today's word is just added proof for investors that the search wars continue. After all, with recent trends toward beta tests that might as well be full-blown product launches, for those of us who already had a desktop search application downloaded, nothing's really changed. In the meantime, Yahoo! continues to fight back, of course, and despite what may seem like a nosebleed valuation, some believe that Google could reach $1 trillion. Regardless, the giants of Internet and search continue to try to make your computer their home.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.