More on (Google) Desktop Search

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[Yesterday][], I said I would add [AppRocket][] to my software portfolio on the PC. What I also did was installing [Google Desktop][] on that PC – just to compare it’s performance with [LookOut][].

The experience is somewhat twofold, I actually don’t know if I should love it or not – and if I shall prefer it over [LookOut][] or not. There’s some stuff that is truly great, especially compared to the latter.


For example, searches are faster once the browser is opened. And they provide a good bit of contex, something especially useful. (Context might be the single-feature that will make Google Desktop for the Mac superior to [Spotlight][])

However, there’s currently some drawbacks: PDF’s are not indexed at all and one can – in general – not define what will be indexed, both in terms of locations and file types. Especially the former is a pain because in today’s world, many documents are stored as PDFs. It would also be great if Google Desktop not only indexed mail messages in Outlook, but Memos and Tasks as well. It would make it a superior search product “for the desktop”.

The greatest thing for Windows would be, if they exposed the [Google APIs][] in Google Desktop as well: Adding system-wide search to your application would suddenly be a snap and you could even combine it with other data-mining tools.

Other than that, I did not find anything too disturbing, though.


It has been said many times that there are far better tools available that will let you define all you need. I tried several of them in the past and their biggest problem was speed. Getting results just took too long. I’m so used to Google’s speed that any product that competes with it must be able to keep-up with that speed before I even consider buying it.

As to the problem of the browser firing up, I found a nice solution: Just add a customised search form to your ActiveDesktop. If you enter your search query there, you have instant access to the search form and the browser will fire up as fast as it would if you’d enter the query in Quicksilver.


The funniest part is the indexing of AIM chats. It feels somehow weird if your chat suddenly turns up in a Google search, but I think it will help me getting accustomed to 2005, when Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” will be released with [Spotlight][] instant search.

And the Laptop? It generally feels strange to me, with all these “bells and whistles”, the small flashing LEDs1 indicating disk activity and these notifications that are mostly useless. Even our sys-admin admitted that it looks bad compared to the shiny 12” PowerBook. When he saw the prices for a 12” PowerBook, he simply said “I’m tempted”.



  1. These are really a pain in the ass. Every single disk access triggers this LED and makes you think there’s something important happening. I find myself constantly looking to the PC on my left side because this LED’s flashing! On a Mac, the system will run and only urgent matter will disturb you during work.[AppRocket]: http://www.candylabs.com/approcket/ “AppRocket”[Yesterday]: /2004/11/03/spotlight-dell-ups-and-my-first-days-at-work/ “Spotlight and company”[Spotlight]: http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/spotlight.html “Spotlight”[LookOut]: http://www.lookoutsoft.com “LookOut”[Google Desktop]: http://desktop.google.com “Google Desktop”[Google APIs]: http://www.google.com/apis/ “Google APIs” ↩︎

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