Every once in a while, something happens to remind you that there's more to search than just Google. Today, it came to light that Ask Jeeves (NASDAQ:ASKJ) is acquiring start-up Tukaroo, which will provide desktop-searching capabilities. Talk about going for the jugular, in light of all the recent search engine skirmishing.

According to The Wall Street Journal, while Tukaroo is only about a year old, its technology will give Ask Jeeves the ability to let you search your desktop for emails and files. While we strive to organize all the various documents, photos, attachments, and so forth in folders on our computers, our ability to actually search through all that clutter is often lacking. Desktop search, theoretically, would make it easy for us to keep virtual house.

That's a capability that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been working on with its newest incarnation of Windows, code-named Longhorn. It's no secret that Microsoft sees search as a promising area, where it's late to the party. Desktop info mining is a logical extension of the Web-based search and organization we're all accustomed to now.

Google recently stepped up its efforts to appeal to the corporate market with a tool for searching intranets. However, Google hasn't quite drilled down into desktop searching as of yet, though rumor has it that the search company is working on this very area with a product code-named Puffin.

Ask Jeeves' move is a shot at all the big players in search and organization. Google's Gmail is not only a Web-based email with a vast amount of storage, but its strongest suit may be the organization and searchability of email. However, to use that functionality to the fullest extent, Gmail demands absolute loyalty. (Many people juggle several email addresses, with at least one being a Web-based address from Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) or Hotmail. If they choose Gmail and don't abandon other email addresses, they won't be able to download, store, or search other email, which dilutes Gmail's innovative usefulness.)

I'm still a die-hard Google search user (almost as addicted to Google News), but Internet users can be fickle, and if given a better option, they likely will defect. Months ago, I wondered if Ask Jeeves, faced with so many giant rivals in search, would end up relegated to the parameters, simply begging for the scraps of the search market -- despite the fact that it's the name behind strong brands like Excite, iWon, and even Teoma.

Given this newest, aggressive move, maybe one day, we'll be able to say, "The butler did it."

Talk about the quickly evolving search industry on the Google discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. She thinks it must be fun to think up code names.