Microsoft’s Windows operating system is facing stiffer competition these days from the open-source Linux operating system, symbolized by its penguin mascot, Tux. And soon the Redmond, WA, giant could be under assault by another funny-looking bird, the puffin. Puffin is Google’s code name for a new piece of software that searches files on users’ local hard drives – software that Google plans to offer free to users soon, according to a John Markoff article in today’s New York Times. If the Puffin tool helps people find forgotten files faster than the search tools built into Windows, consumers might start thinking of Google as a one-stop source for all of their search needs – which is, of course, exactly what Google hopes will happen, preferably well in advance of the appearance of Longhorn, the next-generation Windows operating system that will also integrate desktop and Internet searches.
Puffin appears to be closely related to the Google Deskbar, another piece of free software released by Google last year. Early versions of that program, which allows users to search the Internet without opening a Web browser, were also code-named Puffin. The ability to search local files would be a logical addition to the program.
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.