Google moves toward clash with Microsoft

Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.

Google's software, which is expected to be introduced soon, according to several people with knowledge of the company's plans, is the clearest indication to date that the company, based in Mountain View, Calif., hopes to extend its search business to compete directly with Microsoft's control of desktop computing. Improved technology for searching information stored on a PC will also be a crucial feature of Microsoft's long-delayed version of its Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn. That version will have a redesigned file system, making it possible to track and retrieve information in ways not currently possible with Windows software. The new operating system, however, won't be available until 2006, at the earliest, and advanced search capabilities won't be in place until 2009.

Google's move is in part a defensive one, because the company is concerned about Microsoft's ability to make searching on the Web as well as on a PC a central part of its operating system. By integrating more search functions into Windows, Microsoft could conceivably challenge Google the way it threatened, and destroyed, an earlier rival, Netscape, when it incorporated Web browsing into the Windows 98 operating system. A Google representative declined to comment about the new search tool. Although Google's core business rests on huge farms of server computers that permit fast searching on the Internet, the company has already taken several steps to move beyond that business.

News source: C|Net News.com

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