Google's Desktop Search TWO “5”

Google have just released the second version of their desktop search, and it's bloomin' fantastic!

They really have outdone themseleves here! It's great to use, seems very light and flexible, and extremely powerful. The new way the search works is fantastic, although I think it needs a little working on. Results aren't always that good (Google good), because your hard disk isn't the Interweb, and it isn't all nicely linked together with magic links that give context to content.

There are two amazing 'bigger picture' things to think about now.

Firstly, it takes a major bite out of Apple's OSX Tiger release's marketability. Spotlight on Tiger looked really great, and Apple were the only ones to have such functionality. But now you can have it on the PC, and it works amazingly fast. Perhaps it's not quite perfect yet, and I'd like to be able to launch more programs from this search bar, but it's there.

Secondly, it takes a major bite out of Microsoft's Windows Vista release's marketability. The Longhorn sidebar which didn't really appear to do much in all of those screenshots is now not so special, and it's going to have to do something amazing to beat the Google version (with which it is going to be cometing directly).

Ohh, the excitement. It's like a geek's soap opera. You slaaaaaaaaag!

5 Comments ~ Post a Comment

Anonymous Will: Hi Fintan,

I feel I have to rant about this because so many 'applications' end up with a sort of inflated delusion of grandeur desktop search seems to be suffering from.

Search Mk1 had it all, it searched my files (files/folders/email etc.) and also the web from one handy icon on my desktop - it was great. Small, concise 'does what it says on the tin'. Search Mk2 seems to have lost this purity and tried like so many apps before it to be all things to all men. It's like a school programming project, you're asked to design a database but spend hours lavishing it with non-essential features that get you no marks. So let's take a look:

1. News: Hello http://news.bbc.co.uk/
2. RSS is quite cool, but most new browsers have this (even IE7!).
3. Scratch pad: hello notepad and the desktop (.txt files are portable too).
4. Weather: I have a window.
5. Photos: Why would I want to watch a slideshow in a search toolbar?! Argh! Also hello Flickr.
6. Stocks: Hello ft.com. I can set-up virtual portfolios on there, or even open their own daily-change view. I can track shares over time and get far more statistical analysis.
7.Email?! [steve martin voice]WHY[/steve martin voice]. Why would I want to have a toolbar check my email when I have an email client? Not only that, but at home I use mailwasher to remove spam prior to checking.
8. "Quick View: Keep a list of frequently used web pages and files handy" Now I know they're taking the p*ss - have they not heard of bookmarks?!

Sorry for the rant, I just couldn't help myself. I love google as a company and labs.google have some interesting stuff, but I hate to see really small and concise applications becoming bloatware for no good reason.

Blogger Fin: After using it a bit more, I think that the most important thing about this new sidebar is going to be how developers can extend it.

I can't wait to use the AdSense checker myself, and I'm sure Bloglines will be working on something for it soon.

I agree that some of the parts of the app aren't so groundbreaking, but the results 'preview' is just amazing, and it's great that we (Windows users) finally have that.

Scratch pad might be useful, but anything that's that small could easily be remembered, surely?

I won't be using it for RSS, and the photos is perhaps a little bit unnecessary.

Email I do want to use. I love keeping an eye on my inbox, and if Google can help me to stop refreshing every 30 seconds, it has to be good.

Personally, the search is better than Windows search, but it's not amazing.

Google now have a real foot in the OS now, and with Google Talk (which I hope will dock into the sidebar), I'm thinking this is going to be a common feature on many-a-computer.

Blogger Fin: Oh, and the 'Browse Timeline' feature is a bit amazing.

Anonymous Will: Okay fair dos, I see what they're doing with this now. A slight over-reaction on my part maybe :) To be honest I didn't realise it was widget-tastic - some stuff on there (indexing of MP3 ID3 tags) will be very useful.

I guess I'm not sure software convergence into something mascarading as a search tool is something I'm ready for, that and the potential security related issues http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1851551,00.asp

Let me know when you've got google chat running, I'd be interested to try that out.

Blogger christine: I <3 google, especially Gtalk


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