free html hit counter Desktop Search: More and more.... - John Battelle's Search Blog

Desktop Search: More and more….

By - October 14, 2004

Rael has a great write up:

The Google Desktop is your own private little Google server. It sits in the background, slogging through your files and folders, indexing your incoming and outgoing email messages, listening in on your instant messenger chats, and browsing the Web right along with you. Just about anything you see and summarily forget, the Google Desktop sees and memorizes for you.

And it operates in real time.

Great detail. Also, Danny rounds up a bunch of coverage here.

And many, many folks have emailed me reminding me that LOADS of other folks play both in desktop search, as well as the “Stuff I’ve Seen Before” arena. All true. Copernic, X1, Microsoft, Ask, the list is very long…

Also, check Scripting News for some interesting questions raised, though net net Dave seems to like it…

An open architecture desktop search app is a requirement. I must be able to write a plug-in that teaches it how to index formats it doesn’t understand.

Erik Speckman: “Google desktop search is a disappointment.”

Erik makes a good point. It only indexes Microsoft mail data. I would like it to index my object databases, that’s where all my content is. This could all be solved if they had a driver architecture that allowed us to teach it how to index file formats they don’t understand. Now that we’re on the desktop this becomes possible, as does a richer API. Google’s concern for server bandwidth goes away when the software is running on my desktop.

(thanks, Scott…)

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10 thoughts on “Desktop Search: More and more….

  1. So many desktop search tools, in fact, that I recently made a list of the ones I’ve been considering and reviewed them. Check out

    to see my list, and then look through some of the more recent posts to see updates.

  2. Eroc says:

    I hope this integrates with Gmail pretty soon. It seems like it would be pretty simple to do- just send the same query it’s sending to the desktop search or to google to my gmail account.

  3. Anthony says:

    Well, once you’ve installed GDS it indexes the text of pages you view through your web browser. Wouldn’t Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. be included in that?

  4. It’s not so much desktop search as it is Windows-only Outlook, AIM, and IE search, plus the Office trio of closed formats. The platform coverage is minimal.

  5. pb says:

    The “seen it before” gets tiring. Has anyone seen desktop search integrated right into the public web site? Has anyone seen a mini http server placed on their Windows box? 1 second response times? Sort by relevance? How about all this for free? Like just about everything else, the basic idea is not new. Like much of what Google does, the implementation is impressive.

  6. Matt Hicks says:

    Interesting discussion. It’s worth noting that Google is planning to open desktop search to plugins through an API so other apps can be integrated and to make Gmail work with it.

    Read more here in my story.

    Ironically, they also noted that, yes, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail would be indexed insofar as a user opens a message in their Web browser.

  7. I like it so far. One thing I’m not sure of is whether it indexes attached devices like USB drives and so forth. Also, it currently doesn’t support Firefox and Thunderbird. It works with Firefox as far as searching and having the Desktop link but it doesn’t index your cached pages.

  8. pb, I don’ t mean to toot my own horn too much, but my iBook already has OS X’s “mini http server” (Apache) wired to a search app that I’m working on. Hanging a daemon off of an http port is a common way to get something working without writing UI code.

    This method is also highly portable, so there’s some hope for Google to cross-compile their thing for other platforms.

    The rest of the tech sounds fairly standard – a big inverted index, consuming a big chunk of storage. A crawler that grabs your idle time and memory. Ranking based on date.

    Anybody finished indexing yet? How big is the index?

  9. Rick says:

    Well I am not too happy about Google desktop right now.

    It installed fine, but an hour into its indexing it trashed windows and my internet connection and totally hosed IE.

    Only after uninstalling it and two hours of work do I have my machine back. I think in the rush to beat its rivals Google pushed the product out too early.


  10. If you are disappointed with GDS or afraid of possible privacy damage or just having fun of trying something new – desktop search engine.

    diskmeta indexes user-selected folders on local and intranet shared hard drives to search in PDFs, archives ZIP, RAR, local Microsoft Office files, CHM, HTML, TXT.
    Nice details – it allows wildcards, boolean operators, exact phrase search, sorting, filtering, easy file preview.
    In search speed and result presentation compares to Google in the best sense of the term.

    Minus: isn’t free. But you can try a full-functional version free for 30 days, just to make the right choice.

    diskmeta doesn’t searches Internet. For Internet you have the unbeatable Google 🙂