Google Enters Hunt for Desktops

A quick test of the new Google desktop search software beta proves that the technology is useful--but not as useful as some of the products from Google's lesser known competitors.

November 5, 2004

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Installing the beta was painless--it returned a friendly Google search interface using HTTP on my loop-back interface. The application immediately started a background process to index my local drives for supported files, including AOL Instant Messenger and all Microsoft Office apps. It even indexed my Web history of HTTP and HTTPS files.

Using the "search preferences" page, you can exclude any supported file types from the index and local file paths. The tool lets you include desktop search results with Google Web searches, and even enter URLs you don't want to search.

Although the combined-search option is useful, I'd rather have more advanced tools to get to the bottom of my drive. Several competitors to the Google product--Copernic Desktop Search, dtSearch Desktop, ISYS: Desktop and X1 Desktop Search--provide these advanced tools.

Both dtSearch Desktop and ISYS: Desktop offer hit highlighting, support more than 100 file types in multiple languages and provide complete control over local file indexing. These products let you build multiple indexes and query them with more tools than Google's simple Boolean and natural-language searches. Through sophisticated command-line queries using Boolean connectors, proximity operators and pattern matching, you can reduce the irrelevant clutter retrieved by simple searches.

Many users will welcome Google on their desktops. The new search engine will augment standard search tools found in operating systems and applications. And if the desktop search market becomes a popularity contest, Google's entry will get some notice. But for now, there are better, if lesser-known, alternatives. To vie with those competitors, Google must put some more meat on its release.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights