There’s lots of companies that are almost ready to help you search for things on your computer.

Google introduced Google Desktop Search last month – fast searches through Outlook folders and files in your My Documents folder. (Scroll down to October 14 for my first thoughts on Google’s software.)

Microsoft is working on free toolbars that will appear in Outlook and on your desk for similar searches. Here are some screenshots and a writeup of what to expect from Microsoft – an attractive design similar to Windows Media Player 10.

Don’t commit yourself yet. X1 has released a beta of the next generation of its search tools, and it’s a knockout. X1 already has more functionality than anything planned by Google or Microsoft and the price has been dropped down a bit to $74.95. The program’s look and feel has been completely redesigned, a toolbar has been added to Outlook and the desktop, and the result is very impressive.

Here’s more information about the current release of X1, and here’s a review of an earlier version. If you’re patient, you should wait another month or two while the kinks are worked out of X1’s new release. If you’re curious and you can tolerate some glitches with a beta release, download the beta release and test it. It’s darned solid on my system, for what it’s worth.

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