Google, rivals in race to launch desktop search products

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Google on Wednesday announced it has introduced Google Desktop Search for Enterprise. The free application gives companies the ability to search desktops for information in file folders, e-mails, corporate intranets and the Web.

The new application enables users to search the full text of a Web page history on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla and Netscape browsers; AOL instant messages; file types (including text, MS Word, MS Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, MP3, image, audio and video files); and popular e-mail programs such as MS Outlook and Outlook Express. Desktop Search for Enterprise will also be integrated with IBM Corp.’s Lotus Notes, which has 118 million users.

"We’ve worked closely with Google," said Ed Brill, business unit executive, worldwide, Lotus Notes & Domino at IBM Corp. "It’s clear [that] they’ve established the desktop search tool will be a one-stop search capability."

The race to provide desktop search is fierce. Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced its own enhanced desktop search tool, MSN Search Toolbar. That tool addresses only the consumer market. A corporate version, it said, is scheduled to be in beta by the end of 2005.

Other search companies provide some form of desktop search: Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves have their own versions, and software marketers such as Copernic provide desktop search software. X1 Technologies, another software company, launched a desktop search tool two weeks ago. It plans to launch an enterprise edition soon.

Google leads the foray into the enterprise market and currently has the broadest search capability among competitors, particularly given its IBM collaboration and access to AOL’s instant messages.

"We continue to lead the way in recognizing the needs of enterprise users are different than those needs of the consumer market," said Matt Glotzbach, enterprise product manager at Google.

IBM said it agrees: "The way we’ve been positioning this is that a lot of people view Google as the leading search technology on the market right now," Brill said. "That’s why we chose to go with Google."

Glotzbach said Google has been working with a dozen Fortune 500 marketers that are currently "rolling out" the product. He said Desktop Search for Enterprise benefits clients across many industries. "Obviously any kind of information-driven company that has a large proportion of knowledge management workers [benefits]," Glotzbach said. "It’s a time saver, it drives massive efficiency and it allows users to find information quickly and easily within their e-mail, desktop files and Web pages they’ve visited."

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