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Microsoft Desktop Search will be available soon

Microsoft has set a firmer date for the release of its desktop search software, after Google launched a test version of its rival program for scouring a PC's hard drive.

During its earnings call with financial analysts, Microsoft said an MSN-branded tool would be made available before the end of 2004. The tool and an algorithmic Web searching engine will be in beta testing by year's end, a representative said Friday.

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MSN Chief Yusuf Mehdi had earlier demonstrated a prototype of the search software to an audience at its annual meeting with financial analysts here. The technology is designed to quickly look through a hard drive, finding all the matches for a word from within documents, e-mails and even e-mail attachments. The version Mehdi presented also returned Web results on the right side of the page.

Microsoft recently acquired Lookout and now seem to be releasing it under a new banner of MSN search.

One reader writes about a tool that already exists. It is called 'SERglobalBrain Personal Edition' and can be used to search textual information within files and outlook items. The power lies in its ability to search fuzzy and really fast compared to existing solutions.