One of the most impressive features in Windows Vista ... is instant search.The opportunity for third party desktop search applications like Google Desktop Search only existed because Windows XP desktop search was so pitifully slow.
Anyone who's struggled with the lousy search functionality in Windows XP or previous Windows versions will be happy to hear that the Vista version is fantastic, delivering near-instantaneous search results while providing the types of advanced features that power users will simply drool over.
Throughout Windows Vista, you will see various search points, all of which are context sensitive.
[For example,] in the right side of the Start Menu ... you can search your ... documents and other data files. As you type a search query in the windows search box, search results begin appearing immediately. The speed at which this happens is pretty impressive ... You can [also] search for applications, ... IE Favorites, email, and other items directly from the Start Menu.
As I said before, the moment Microsoft corrects this flaw, this opportunity will evaporate, as will the numerous also-ran desktop search apps. It appears Microsoft finally has fixed desktop search in Windows.
Paul's review goes on to say that "Microsoft will work to make instant search more pervasive in [the] future". Integration of search into Windows has long been expected as part of the search war. From a NYT article:
Internet search, according to Microsoft, will increasingly become seamlessly integrated into the Windows desktop operating system, Office productivity software, cellphones powered by Windows, and Xbox video games.And, Bill Gates said something similar over two years ago:
"Search will not be a destination, but it will become a utility" that is more and more "woven into the fabric of all kinds of computing experiences," said Kevin Johnson, co-president of Microsoft's platforms and services division.
Search is a very pervasive thing. You want to search the Web, you want to search your corporate network, you want to search your local machine, and sometimes you want search to work against multiples of those things.Now that Microsoft has fixed desktop search, they will integrate search throughout Windows and Windows applications. The easiest and most obvious option for searching will be the search box sitting right in front of you. That box will be powered not by Google or Yahoo, but by Microsoft.
See also my earlier post, "Using the desktop to improve search", where I looked at how several Microsoft Research projects might be used to improve search.
[Paul Thurrott's review found via Joel Spolsky]
Update: Two months later, Mary Jo Foley writes:
One analyst's survey doesn't make a trend. But a Global Equities research analyst said this week that he found "many Vista owners that once used Google's desktop search feature have switched to Microsoft's" desktop search which is built into Windows Vista.