Google has formally launched its desktop search application designed to allows users to search for information on local computers.
The full 1.0 release of the free downloadable tool, which was previously available as a beta test version, adds functionality including the ability to search the full text of PDFs and the meta-information stored with music, image and video files.
Jonathan Rosenberg, vice president of product management at Google, said: "It's like having a photographic memory of everything you've seen with your computer, right at your fingertips.
"We're proud to take Google Desktop Search out of beta, and we will continue to extend the utility of desktop search for users worldwide."
In addition to searching a range of computer files and email, Google claimed that its offering is the first desktop search tool to access the full text of web page history and the only one to search AOL instant messages.
Additional enhancements to Google Desktop 1.0 include a free-standing search box that users can place anywhere on their desktop. In addition to enabling users to block HTTPS web pages, Google Desktop Search can now exclude all password-protected documents from Microsoft Word and Excel.
The tool can also be used to recover accidentally deleted or misplaced information. For instance, a user who unintentionally deletes a Word document or PowerPoint presentation can use the tool to find the text.
All results are accompanied by cached snapshots of each web page and document so that users can access information even if they're not connected to the web or if a document has been deleted.
The search firm added that it will provide application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable software developers to create new and innovative applications using the desktop search product.
Plug-ins developed with these APIs will be made available for download here, enabling users to search new content types such as Trillian chats and the full-text of scanned images, such as faxes. More information on the Desktop Search APIs can be found here.
Google Desktop Search can be downloaded here. It is currently available for Windows XP and 2000 Service Pack 3 and above. It requires 500MB of disk space, a minimum of 128MB of Ram, and a 400MHz (or faster) Pentium processor.
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