Google's beta release of their desktop search tool was their shot across the bow of the USS Microsoft Search. Following hard of the heels of promising technology releases from Blinkx and Copernic, Google is staking their claim to the desktop search space. And Microsoft seems to have been caught flat footed, as they continue to push back the deadline for the release of Longhorn, which will integrate desktop search with the operating system. Many seem to think a search related announcement out of Redmond is imminent.
So, if one looks at what's come out of the labs of the major search engines lately, you see a rush of new technologies centered on the ideas of desktop search, local search, indexing of rich media and personalized search. It seems that everything we've been talking about in the past 3 years is suddenly coming on the market in one fell swoop.