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Google Desktop Search
Search the desktop

 2:21 pm on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)


Have fun :)

orielly [oreillynet.com]

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Reuters) - Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday rolled out a preliminary version of its new desktop search tool, making the first move against its major competitors in the race to provide tools for finding information buried in computer hard drives.

The Google Desktop offering takes direct aim at Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , which bought a desktop search business in July, as well as current and expected desktop product releases from other companies such as Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , Ask Jeeves Inc. (ASKJ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) AOL.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:33 am (utc) on Oct. 15, 2004]
[edit reason] added links [/edit]



 6:59 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hope that folks enjoy trying it out. In my experience, you start to notice the benefits more and more after a week or so. Things like indexing different snapshots of a document are pretty handy. encyclo, it is a different algorithm than the main web search.

If people have suggestions for improvements, the best place to give us feedback is here:


 7:26 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

It doesn't seem to index the source code to my asp/php/perl files. This is one of the main reasons I would want this kind of search, so that is very disappointing, unless I'm missing something?


 7:48 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just uncheck the box, encyclo.

Wrong way round: Google should uncheck the box, and you should check it.

In my copy, "Send non-personal usage data and crash reports to Google" is unchecked.


 8:10 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

This program won't help you file stuff it'll just try and make sense out of your nonsense.

There is no substitute for a bit of basic windows OS training.


 8:16 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I use firefox and thunderbird.

Why the hell i can't search in firefox cached files and in the thunderbird e-mails?


 9:52 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

So when do you think we will be able to search drives other than c: and add filetypes (.vb and .cd would be a good start for me) :)

All my useful stuff is not on C: :(


 10:18 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

> firefox cache

It finds the opera cache files just fine - it's like any other file. That part is no problem and the program works much better in Opera (faster, mdi, mouse jesters..etc) than it does in IE.

Well, 21hrs into indexing and I think it is done indexing - however, it didn't do the second hd!?

I do like the quality of results, but I do not like the way they look like regular results. It is clear that Google is trying to have users confuse online vs offline results. Google has drank the "web is platform" koolaid.


 10:37 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm surprised it doesn't add a search desktop button next to the search web and search site in the toolbar.


 10:42 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

however, it didn't do the second hd!?

That is normal, for some reason it dosn't which is a major gripe because the only thing I have on my C drive is the OS.


 11:13 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Searching IE cache is brilliant. I think I'll be uninstalling my a9 toolbar which I'd been trying to use to try out the search history features now it's just like googling for content I've recently seen - excellent.


 1:15 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

All my useful stuff is not on C:

It also doesn't allow you to specify which directories or actual file types to index.

Seeing the results from my machine in what looks like a Google window is just plain creepy. I don't like that part at all.

We are now 9hrs into and only 5% done with indexing

Four reasons why I am not going to try it at this time. However, I am curious: for those of you who tried both, how does it compare with the Copernic Desktop Search?


 1:53 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Personally, I love the new desktop search. It has already saved me a ton of time and allows instant access to files when I am on the phone with a client.

Another fun toy from Google.




 2:05 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

It doesn't work very well; at least not for me. I can't find anything, and I know I have more than the 6,000 files it found to index. So I'll be uninstalling this and will keep using Lookout for now.

The thing I can't figure out is why they didn't incorporate this with the DeskBar. Seems a very natural combination to me, and would give them the jump over any other desktop search that I know of.


 2:21 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nobody get problems with ; .htm (not .html) files not crawl, 101k limit, metatag indexing, and finally the worst for me: all the same date of your computer files (not web history ones) are the same if you dont open it after the crawl?


 2:33 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm sure future versions will allow searching multiple drives natively.

Until then, checkout Junction Link Magic [rekenwonder.com]. It should provide a transparent workaround for Google Desktop, and is a handy tool to know.

You can even use this to get Google Desktop to index your network. Though it would take a little proxy page rewriting action to get the links in the results to be valid for other computers.


 2:48 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

There's an old command in DOS called SUBST that will do the same thing.


 3:35 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Spica, I think the eventual default notion will be "index every useful filetype on my PC". The advanced settings let you specify directories not to search though, so you can pick and choose what part of things to index. A good time to try it is at the end of the day, because then the machine will be idle and it can quietly run and index. joker197cinque, if you go to [desktop.google.com...] and click on Suggestion, you can request things like Firefox or Thunderbird indexing; there's already a checkbox for "Support Mozilla Firefox" button all ready to check. I checked it. :) But we wanted to get this beta out there, and then see what people requested the most. I never would have thought about Brett's idea to change how the search results page looks, for example, but I like that idea.


 3:47 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

By the way GoogleGuy if nobody has said it yet welcome back.


 3:53 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

First impressions:

- desktop results are included in web search results - creepy at first, but handy

- i'd like a "show all" beneath the desktop results

- desktop search interferes with the Google search box in Opera.
Normal web search is taking ages. desktop results are included however.

- url's are sometimes incomplete (file extension is missing sometimes)

- somehow some html pages open in IE and others in Opera. When opening in IE, I want them to open in a new window.


 4:18 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Possible security threat: [blogs.pcworld.com...]


 4:19 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

about multiple drives: I'm seeing C: and D: in the results


 4:23 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

It rather puts a damper on gmail doesn't it?

Having messed about importing old emails into my gmail account so I could search them nicely, there's no longer any need - I can ues "Gdesk" instead.

Is there any need for gmail now? This even links together email threads to make them easily browsable like gmail!


 6:03 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Possible security threat: [blogs.pcworld.com...]
That is the most ridiculous "security threat". I can just walk in and few that stuff anyway. In reality, you take a risk when you send private information at a public terminal. The public terminal should be completely wiping the system between users anyway. Using a public terminal for private information is like using an unsecured wireless network. The only thing inbetween the victim and the perpetrator is the data.

I might add, how many public terminals give users the admin rights needed to install software?



 7:41 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone seeing scans from the internet into port 4664 yet?



 8:18 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

JAG: I'm completely expecting that to increase for the public, but no, not yet. Then again, I have a firewall on my router which specifically disallows traffic on 4664, so...


 8:34 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm also concerned about the computers that are on a network behind a firewall. That might allow one employee to see into another desktop since most companies don't have firewalls on every machine. I can see it now...everyone has easy access to the CEO's email or access to the CFO's pay records or .....



 8:53 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm...I should start evangelizing the benefits of GDS to my superiors...(j/k)


 9:41 pm on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Firefox + Slogger = GDS or Copernic to crawl ANY web pages.
By ANY Web pages I mean ANY who got text in it : Websphere with a mile long URL, Php or ASP URL's with 43 parameters, name it you got it at your fingers tips in the search box. Better than the original ;-)

Warning : Desactivate the https if you use your browser to see your bank account unless every search "bank" on your computer may see very easily your account info.


 12:35 am on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

With all eyes on G, and security being a constant issue (already being mentioned at some level by volatilegx), it seems like some level of password protection for desktop search might be a good idea. I don't really want someone to be able to jump on my computer, type "banking" and pull up all my financial records if I was a moron and allowed https files to be indexed. IMHO THAT is not a feature. I suppose I would be somewhat to blame if I leave my PC wide open to a passerby, but I wish G would try to address security with at least a few attempts at personal failsafes for those more concerned about security or those too foolish to know better.


 2:01 pm on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I may have missed this somewhere, but I often work offline (portable) will the desktop search work offline?


 2:30 pm on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

The "security problem" is spurious - it's blaming the tool rather than identifying the cause.

The desktop search can only search for documents on the computer which are already available, or unprotected. It is just a facilitating mechanism, not some l33t hacker tool.

If you send personal emails on a public machine and don't clear the cache afterwards, you are the one to blame, because even without desktop search someone could manually search through the browser cache and find the same information. To lay the blame with Google is severely misguided.

I might add, how many public terminals give users the admin rights needed to install software?

You'd be surprised. Most web cafés I've visited are running standard installs of 98 or XP, usually completely unpatched, and stuffed with so much spyware it's a miracle they boot at all.

Some technical questions: can desktop search be installed without Administrator priviledges? Can it run as a normal user? On a multi-user machine, does it search the documents and temporary internet files of just the user who is running it, or does it offer results from every user's folders?

Another question that comes to mind is related to the Google brand. What we have is an early public beta of a program, but the basic way of functioning is clear: you have a non-technical consumer-oriented, Windows-only application aimed squarely at Microsoft's home turf - the desktop has been owned almost exclusively by Microsoft for approaching 2 decades. The application is tightly integrated into the operating system, creating a mesh between local and web search. It uses a background process, storing all the user's information in a closed, binary format, and it attempts to send back binary reports to Google.

The question is, would you have had the same reaction to this product if it was made by another company than Google. How about if it was Microsoft? Or Claria? Does the fact that it is badged Google influence your opinion on how the program operates?

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