You probably know that Microsoft had to change Vista's desktop search because of Google's complaints. There is already some technical documentation about the changes available even though there is no public beta of service pack 1 yet.
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Microsoft introduces a new search protocol with Vista SP1. Its only purpose is to determine and call the default desktop search application. Please check out this MSDN article for more information about this search protocol.
There is also a Knowledge Base (KB 941946) article that explains how you can change the default desktop search tool in Vista SP1. There are two ways to do this: You can associate the search protocol with a third-party search application. Or you can just configure a search tool as the default application for all file types and protocols it can open. As I read the KB article, both options are equivalent. You can change these settings with Vista's Default Program. Just click on Start and you are already there.
I wonder if Microsoft will also offer ADM or ADMX templates to deploy these changes network-wide using Group Policy. The MSDN article mentions the corresponding Registry keys. So you probably could create your own Group Policy templates.
If you don't want to wait for Vista SP1, you could turn off Vista search indexing altogether and simply work with your favorite desktop search tool as early as now.