Microsoft is taking the first steps towards its own search engine, currently using the name MSNBot. It will appear first as a competitor to Google, but Microsoft’s vision actually goes far beyond that – and in typical Microsoft fashion, they stand a chance of dethroning Google by extending its capabilities in new directions, making their copycat tool into a dominating force.

Here’s an article about Microsoft’s plans. Basically, Microsoft intends to develop search technology that can be used to scour the Internet – and also give you equally valuable search results from your computer’s morass of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook folders, and PDF files. You can imagine how this might assist a growing company that has accumulated tens of thousands of files and e-mail messages. Microsoft can build access to its search engine into your browser, your applications, its web sites, and plans to embed it deeply into the next version of Windows.