Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc reports that Microsoft has released Windows Search 4.0 which replaces Windows Desktop Search in Windows XP and Instant Search in Windows Vista as well as the relevant applications in Windows Server 2003, 2008, and Windows Home Server. Downloads of Windows Search 4.0 are now available and if you can wait a bit, it will show up on Windows Update.
Some notable enhancements in the new version include cross system searches (as long as they all run Windows Search 4.0) and improved Group Policy management for large organizations, but I expect that the greatest initial interest will be in ordinary desktop search. XP’s Windows Desktop Search was a resource hog that produced such mediocre results that disabling it figured prominently on most lists of XP performance improvement tips and had me pining for my old copy of Lotus Magellan. Vista’s Instant Search is certainly improved in both form and function so it will be interesting to kick the tires. Early reviews of Windows Search 4.0 indicate that there are still some rough edges and while it beats Google Desktop search in function, it still lags in speed.