One of the natural steps that Internet search will take in the near future is the transformation from web browsers to desktops. Desktop search or integrated search refers to the ability to search multiple data sources simultaneously (Whatis.com 2004). What this means is that the user no longer has to open up a web browser to search the Internet, but there will be search utilities integrated in the desktop. In addition to Internet search, the desktop search utility will search files and e-mails that are stored on hard drives or removable storage and corporate intranets and databases. With increasing demand for organising files, e-mail, and the Internet, desktop search will be a welcomed additional application. Furthermore, as digital convergence advances, users will be able to search for data stored in e.g. their TVs, wireless devices and home appliances.
Numerous search providers have started to release desktop search utilities. Microsoft Corporation has announced that desktop search will be a large part of its next operating system, Longhorn, which is expected to launch in 2006. However, Windows recently announced that the desktop search utility will be delayed and will not be included in the release of Windows Longhorn. (Weboptimiser 2004.) This presents an opportunity for other search providers to gain market share in the desktop search arena before Microsoft rolls out its version. Many search companies such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Lycos, Copernic and Ask Jeeves have already released some desktop search capabilities (TechTree.com 2004, Pruitt 2004, Price 2004).