Today at the annual IT Forum, Microsoft Corp. launched Windows® Desktop Search enabled for enterprise deployment, which allows corporate information workers to quickly find and retrieve precisely what they’re looking for on their personal computers, in e-mail and on network file shares from a single starting point. Launching Windows Desktop Search for enterprise deployment is another step toward achieving Microsoft’s vision for enabling a complete enterprise search experience with search across the PC and e-mail through Windows Desktop Search, across the enterprise intranet environment with Microsoft® SharePoint® Portal Server 2003, and across the Web with MSN® Search.
The new offering of Windows Desktop Search is easy for IT managers to deploy, customize and manage across all Microsoft Windows XP-based or Windows 2000-based PCs in a corporate environment. This supports a powerful and intuitive search experience that can be integrated with familiar environments such as Microsoft Office, SharePoint Portal Server and other third-party enterprise products.
Windows Desktop Search had been available to end users via the MSN Toolbar, but this offering is customized for enterprise users:
The new enterprise version of Windows Desktop Search takes the consumer version of the product offering — which provides fast search capabilities to locate information across e-mail, the desktop or shared network drives — and provides a simple way to deploy and manage this product across the enterprise environment.
Enterprise customers have the option to deploy the MSN Search Toolbar, which provides a new beta feature that gives people the ability to see integrated Windows Desktop Search results within Microsoft Office Outlook®. IT managers can customize Windows Desktop Search and the MSN Search Toolbar to allow users to easily switch the scope of their search experience from their desktop to the Web or to a corporate intranet, all from one ubiquitous search box.
IT professionals can easily deploy, customize and manage these search capabilities via Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 or third-party deployment tools. IT professionals can also extend Windows Desktop Search to index additional information sources and file types using IFilters and protocol handlers that are extensively documented on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN®) Web site, http://msdn.microsoft.com. Enterprises can tap into additional product assistance through Microsoft Product Support Services.
Currently supported in 15 languages, with others available soon, Windows Desktop Search for the enterprise can be downloaded for free with a Windows License at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/desktopsearch/enterprise.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Google Desktop 2.0 (with desktop search) left beta on November 3 and has both end user and enterprise flavors.
Update (11/16): Chris Kraeuter and Rachel Rosmarin at Forbes survey the enterprise search market.