Google is said to have plans to introduce a powerful file-and-text software search tool for information stored on PCs.

The New York Times suggests the move reveals Google plans to compete with Microsoft in the desktop computing space.

Microsoft intends to revamp its technology for searching for information on a PC with the next release of its operating system – expected in 2006.

The newspaper adds that Google's move could also be seen as defensive. "By integrating more search functions into Windows, Microsoft could conceivably challenge Google the way it threatened, and destroyed, an earlier rival, Netscape, by incorporating Web browsing into the Windows 98 operating system," states the report.