free html hit counter I Want X1! - John Battelle's Search Blog

I Want X1!

By - March 05, 2004

Desktop search (ie searching your own hard drive) is one of those things that seems to have gotten worse in the past ten years (why Yahoo, MSFT or Google don’t do it is a mystery, imagine the goodwill…). Back in 1987, I had a great utility (why do I think it was called Gopher?) that rummaged around through my 20 meg Macintosh hard drive and found any text string, anywhere. Now I’ve got 40 gigs, I think, but no desktop search utility (Sherlock doesn’t have text string search, far as I can tell). My email, for example, is a thicket of badly organized folders. Today David Weinberger raves about X1, a utility for Windows that searches email, docs, etc. But I’m on a Mac. Anyone know of something similar for us OSX folk?

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15 thoughts on “I Want X1!

  1. For email, Zoe is a very cool way to manage things. It will categorize your email and cross reference everything with slick hyperlinks. Search of very quick…

    You can use it as a mail server if you want, though it runs locally and pulls things through from beyond…

  2. Oliver says:

    Damn, I just wanted to point to Zoe too but Jonathan was faster. Try it out.

  3. You can do content search by File/Find in the finder. (cmd-F) You might want to index your content first (this is a button in the File/Get Info popup in the Content Index section) to get the best results.

    It’s not the greatest UI, but you can do quick text search across your whole system.

  4. Dethe Elza says:

    I think this is going to be a growth industry as personal hardrives approach terabyte capacity.

    Zoe claims to be Google for your email.

    V-Twin is the search engine in OS X (SearchKit is the developer’s framework), powering both Finder search (which can search for text strings) and Sherlock.

    Mozilla’s roadmap says they want to create a “personal intertwingled data server.”

    Spring is another approach to making your own data more accessible, this time by replacing your desktop with a more information-dense tool.

    Scopeware has another vision of replacing your desktop with a personal search space, based on Gelertner’s book “Mirror Worlds” (windows only).

    There are also a few attempts going on to build a top-knotch open-source search engine, but that is only a small piece of the picture.

  5. I would love to see a simple Mail plugin that supported ‘smart folders’ akin to the ‘smart playlits’ in iTunes. Typically, I’d set them up for emails wih a name or a project title in the body copy.

  6. Adam Rifkin says:

    X1 (and, for that matter, Zo

  7. X1 (and, for that matter, Zo

  8. Chris says:

    I prefer EasyFind over the Finder’s content and file name searching. It is much faster and will let you search specific folders and/or inside packages.

  9. Raoul Snidjik says:

    I just wrote the X1 people to see if they had any academic discounts, and a nice guy wrote back to say that through the end of March the price is $49 instead of $99. Here the link to get the reduced price (which is the same as the old price):

    The guy encouraged me to spread this news around so as to promote X1.

  10. Brian says:

    No matter how hard I tried,
    I could find no reason for people to create software and then give it out for free.
    It costs hell of time to develop something, why not sell it?
    There must be some reason.

  11. Dave Goebel says:

    X1 was just upgraded to include phrase searching and the ability to save a search.

    It is also on sale for $68.00 at

    We can also integrate X1 with the Google Search Applaince to oferr desktop and Intranet Search

  12. Anyone know of something similar for us OSX folk?


    But seriously, Mail builds an inverted index (and quite a hefty one I might add) for each mbox file (aka Mailbox). Is the problem more in finding a standalone tool to search with?

  13. Yoram Nevo says:

    I’ve been thinking…
    Is there a simple way to integrate x1 an google search for personal use?
    I mean, if x1 would also list google search it could really make some searches easier.
    Meanwhile, what I’m doing is merely creating an offline copy of sites which I think can be relevant for the x1 search.
    This is of course not the best solution, but I was wondering if there’s a way to use x1 and google together, without zapping between 2 windows and comparing results…

    the new MS search tool suppose to offer this isn’t it?

  14. “There are also a few attempts going on to build a top-knotch open-source search engine, but that is only a small piece of the picture.”

    I agree completely between apple and microsoft, yes true great article