Google continued its quest to make its search available everywhere with the introduction Nov. 7 of a desktop search tool that lets users search without having a browser open.
The Google Deskbar resides on the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the computer screen, returning Google search results no matter what application is running. Search results, as well as shortcut applications like dictionary definitions and arithmetic, are displayed in a small window that appears in the lower right side of the screen. The Deskbar complements Google's popular toolbar, which is embedded in Internet browsers.
The move by Google, though still in testing phase, could pre-empt rival Microsoft, which reportedly is making search an ingrained feature of its new Windows operating system release. The Windows XP successor might not hit the market until 2005. Search giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft want to make search the key application of consumers' Internet experience, rivaling e-mail in its ubiquity.
The Google Deskbar also includes keyboard-command shortcuts. For example, a user can highlight text in a Word document and use Control+ALT+G to search for it. Other shortcuts let users search news, shopping and images.