Microsoft has given in to demands that it afford rivals a more direct path for providing desktop search functions to users via Vista. The concession underscores Microsoft's revulsion for federal regulators. It will cede a prominent OS function to competitors without a fight just to keep Uncle Sam away from its business. This is a practical move but one that's ultimately not good for consumers.
The desktop search function in Vista happens to be one of the best features in the new OS. It mimics Apple's Spotlight tool that has been around for years and makes finding files or even just phrases from documents a breeze. If you're looking for a reason to upgrade from XP to Vista, desktop search could prove worth the jump on its own, depending on how organized you are.
Google desktop search, by contrast, is a total joke. It bombards users with so many irrelevant hits on many searches that the tool becomes unusable and annoying. Having Google and other sub par competitors throw their search bars at users will only confuse the average PC customer. Many people will end up picking a really crappy desktop search tool because HP, Dell or whoever signed a deal with Google or because Google managed to foist its software on consumers via some web delivery mechanism.