I’ve been using X1 to do lightning-fast searches through e-mail and contacts in Outlook, and files on my computer and on the network. A new version will be released next week that adds the ability to search for phrases, enhanced Boolean AND/OR/NOT searches, and some other tricks. It’s a pleasure to use, but a bit pricey at $99. Download a 15-day trial version here.

A few weeks ago, Microsoft acquired Lookout Software, the manufacturer of the product that was poised to be competitive with X1. Lookout can now be downloaded for free, but with no support and no upgrades planned. Instead Microsoft will use the Lookout technology to roll out a new product, probably combining web searches with e-mail and file searches. There’s no way to tell if that will happen next month or next year, but Microsoft did a demonstration yesterday of the toolbar under development. Here’s an article about the Microsoft presentation.

I think X1 is a better product; you can test it for 15 days to see if it’s worth $99 to you. But the frozen, unsupported version of Lookout is free and I’m not aware of any showstopping problems with it. You can download Lookout from this page. If you’ve got things piled up in Outlook, it’s very empowering to know that you can find things, regardless of which program you pick.

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