Microsoft has agreed to make changes to Vista so that it’s easy to use other search tools instead of Vista’s built-in search. The change will take effect with SP-1 for Vista, the beta of which is due later this year. But just because you’ll be able to change your search tool doesn’t mean you should. Vista’s built-in search easily beats Google’s desktop search.
Google’s desktop search suffers because it uses a Web paradigm rather than a desktop one. Results are presented in a browser, rather than in Windows Explorer, and integration with the operating system isn’t particularly good.
Vista’s search tools are far more flexible, and make it easier to search by date, folder location, file size, and so on.
Still, it’s certainly a good thing that people will now have a choice of which search tool to use. Many people report that using Google’s desktop search while Vista’s search was enabled slowed their system to a crawl.
Microsoft’s deal with the Justice Department to make it easier to incorporate other search tools into Vista has these main features:
* Both consumers and computer manufacturers will be able to choose a default search tool — it can be Vista’s, Google’s, or anyone else’s.
* Other search tools can be integrated throughout Vista. So, for example, if someone chooses a search tool other than Vista’s, a link to that tool will be in all the places where you normally do a search, such as in Windows Explorer, the Start menu, and so on.
* Microsoft will give adequate information to other search providers, so that they can improve performance and optimize search.
We should all welcome the changes; it will increase competition. Unless Google changes its desktop search tool, though, I’ll be sticking with Vista’s search.