Objective Development today released both LaunchBar 3.3, the latest version of their slick keyboard-based application launcher, and LaunchBar 4.0b1, a public beta of the next major version (see "Tools We Use: LaunchBar" in TidBITS 671). LaunchBar 3.3 distinguishes itself by scanning address books for phone numbers, which are displayed in large type when accessed via LaunchBar. Most of the other changes are relatively minor, though undoubtedly welcome to specific users (for instance, you no longer need to press Command to move the LaunchBar window, and Unix aficionados can now navigate the search results list with Emacs key bindings). It’s a 269K download and is free to registered users; new copies cost $20 for home use or $40 for business use.
LaunchBar 4.0b1, though, brings major features to the application, including a new configuration interface, a multithreaded indexing engine that scans in the background, new scanners dedicated to specific types of data (such as music in iTunes, pictures in iPhoto, Web browser history, Watson tools, Sherlock channels, and more), built-in Web searching, an Open With command, access to recent documents for any application, and execution of AppleScript scripts and Unix executables. It’s a beta, so if you’re not willing to take the usual precautions, stick with version 3.3. It’s a 450K download.