Google Moves Desktop Search Out of Beta

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

Google Desktop Search adds Mozilla and Netscape support, searches more formats and lets developers create extensions.

Google Inc. is taking its desktop search application out of beta on Monday with a release that supports more file formats and opens access to third-party developers. Google Desktop Search 1.0 moves beyond the beta versions Microsoft focus by introducing support for applications from the Mozilla Foundation and America Online Inc.s Netscape Communications. While the beta only indexed Microsoft Outlook e-mail and Internet Explorer Web browsing history, the latest release also can search e-mail from the Mozilla Thunderbird and Netscape clients and browsing history from the Firefox and Netscape browsers, Google announced.
To make more desktop data searchable, the latest release adds indexing support for the full text of PDFs to existing support for Microsoft Office formats. It also indexes the metadata of video, images and audio, such as titles or artist information.
"With regard to users, we have tens of thousands of applications and file types they want to search," said Nikhil Bhatla, a Google product manager. "Weve addressed the top requests and most popular applications, and the best way to address [this] is by making desktop search available for developers to write plug-ins." Google Desktop Search went into beta in October. Since then, major search rivals Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.s MSN and Ask Jeeves Inc. have entered the desktop search race. Startups such as Blinkx Inc. and vendors like Copernic Technologies Inc., X1 Technologies Inc. and ISYS Search Software also are vying for desktop searchers. Unlike its competitors, Google merges desktop and Web search results together, using its well-known Web-browser interface to display results. It also indexes browser history and AOL Instant Messenger chat sessions along with files and e-mails. Next Page: Google merges desktop, Web search results.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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