The fact that Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google are all looking to grow (or retain) their share of the search market and to extend this to the desktop is no secret. Unfortunately for Microsoft the the next Windows release (codenamed Longhorn) is constantly being delayed and as one of its primary aims is to improve the search capabilities available natively within the operating system, this gives Google and others an opportunity to take a hold on the desktop (although Google will need to be smart in order to maintain it’s lead in the Internet search engine market – whether the launch of the rumoured Mozilla-based Google browser will help with this is yet to be seen).
Back in July 2004, Microsoft purchased an ISV called Lookout Software. Lookout is an add-on to Microsoft Outlook that allows users to bypass the search tools provided by Microsoft and sift through e-mail, contacts and other information with keywords. The latest version of Lookout is now available from the Microsoft website and my first impressions are that it is very good, and very fast (is it only me that thinks the Lookout branding looks a bit like Google’s?).
On a related note, Copernic, another successful player in the search market, released their Desktop Search product this month – again, my first impressions using this are good.