Google is about to do something that many thought would happen eons ago: Introduce a free search tool for Windows PCs. Supplanting the woeful search function that comes with Windows PCs, and overnight wiping out tiny search tool upstarts like X1, dtSearch, and others, this should be interesting.
First, search is one way to unify the Internet and the desktop. The blurring of the two at the file level ameliorates Microsoft’s inherent installed-based advantage, making it easier for Google to maintain its market position.
Two, this could be much stickier than Internet search. There are many things that can be done to customize desktop search such that you aren’t exactly eager to have Google pushed off your desktop if and when Microsoft Longhorn shows up with its improved search three or four years from now.
It is no cure-all, of course, and the Google IPO terms are still usurious, but it is a long-overdue move from Google.