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Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google, the Web search engine, is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.More [nytimes.com]
For most users, the answer is probably less than 0.1%
Most users have no need of this technology. Those that do need it know how to use standard windows tools. However, it is worth saying that MS stuffed up searching on XP - in some cases, apart from being mind-bogglingly slow, it misses things. I'm guessing this was deliberate so that when they release some new search technology it looks better than it would otherwise.
As for the percentage of data that is Google-searchable, it's not the raw percentage that matters so much as the percentage that I need to search. I may need to search a folder of 200 MB of code and specs for the files containing a particular string. Those 200 MB are a small percentage of my total drive space, but I need to search them well -- all those .cpp, .h, .bas, .doc, .html, .vbs, .asm, etc.
I recently tried searching for something that way using XP's search. Though I had one file containing the string open in Notepad, Search found none of them. So I tried Windows GREP. Same result.
That makes me wonder if MS somehow trips up other search software besides its own .... Is Google's search going to work or will the MS OS mess it up?
How many businesses out there share documents across multiple computers and then lose the documents because they can't find them 5 months down the line?
And what about the possibility of reading mail files, etc.
A Google-like search program that worked across a local area network sounds like a good idea, it also sounds like a hacker's dream come true.
It's also worth noting that any such program (even on stand-alone PCs) would instantly become a target for hackers and spyware writers.
Microsoft keeps saying "Longhorn will revolutionise search" - so Google counters with "The internet king of search is coming to your desktop real soon now".
FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Pioneered by IBM, perfected to an art form by Microsoft. One of the most powerful technology marketing tools on the planet... good to see someone throw it right back at Bill!
Google is reportedly working on a downloadable file and text software search tool, code-named Puffin, that will attack a weak spot in Windows — which runs on more than 90 percent of the world’s personal computers — by making it easier for users to find information stored on their desktops.
I think that this once again this could be viewed as seedy and unethical. If Google are going to launch this they better make a better job of it than they did with GMail or the **** will really hit the fan this time. Just watch the media take this one on.
Here's an article on more on this, and how to fix it:
It looks like there was a patch released on October 25, 2001 that adds a bunch more file types to the "good" list.
A lot of people talk about being able to search the files on your desktop. Even in this thread - some people say "useless", whereas others say, "I need it!". One of the interesting things about filing and searching is that every user does it a bit differently. As such, there is no doubt that filesystem search is a real need; and I'm sure puffin will do a great job of it when it ships.
From my experience, however, the big ticket item is not filesystem search, but email search. We all have thousands of emails on our system, and we don't like to spend a lot of time categorizing them. So, we need tools to be able to dig us out of the email mess. For most people, I think this is a much bigger problem than filesystem search.
Utilities for filesystem search have existed for a long time - some very good ones, in fact. But they've never been able to get much traction. This is for a number of reasons, but the predominant reason is that most people don't have enough of a problem finding stuff on their harddisk to warrant installing and learning a new utility which they otherwise wouldn't run. The slow windows filesystem search, for as lame as it is (and without full-text search!), is "good enough" for most.
However, email is a different story. How many of us sit in Outlook, or Eudora, or <pick your mail reader> all day long? How many of us have thousands of emails each month and have sometimes spent hours searching for that one that was important? Its obvious to all of us now that we need email search - why didn't we think of this before?! :-)
So to me, email search is the center of the desktop search game. If puffin has filesystem search without email search, I think it will be only slightly interesting. But, as soon as email search is integrated - whoa - lookout! Gmail does solve this for some users, but I don't think gmail is good enough for the large. Gmail is like yahoo mail. Everyone needs a free email account to catch their spam. But most of us have company email that we store elsewhere, and gmail is not an option for that.
Also keep in mind, that outside of the techie arena, most users aren't willing to run an external program to host search. They don't have time to learn something new, or struggle with a separate app and UI. To really hit the big market, it needs to be embedded in the mail client.
Oh yeah - and if you want software that searches your outlook *today*, let me know, I'll point you to my download site :-)
Anyway, thats my biased 2 cents. Despite being somewhat a competitor to Google, I love that company... I hope they really push the envelope in this area. We all need it!
Things that will search any file for text matches would be very useful. And e-mail would be high on the list of needs. (Where is that e-mail where I told somebody that their ideas suck? Was it sent to the person who is my new boss?) Really, I do alot of searching through old e-mail. I also do alot of searching through old doc and pdf files.
Back in the early 90's I bought a utility for my Mac (which I was using at the time) that would search through any file, MS Word, MacDraw, text, and anything for a match to some text. You could even search executable programs for text like "this job stinks" and find some hits. It was one of the most useful utilities I ever had. I have never seen anything like that for Windows.