The Google Desktop

A beta version of the Google Desktop is available for download that enables you to search through all of your Outlook/Outlook Express, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, text, and AOL Instant Messenger files and data. It even searches through your Internet Explorer browser cache so you can view matching web pages when you're not online. As an added bonus, it indexes filenames, so a search for "dad" would find your "Mom and Dad.jpg" and "Dad's New Car.jpg" photos, even though you haven't tagged those files with any metadata.

The Google Desktop installs an icon in your system tray and indexes your data during idle time. To search, you simply double-click the tray icon and a browser window appears that looks very similar to the Google web site. The results page also looks just like a typical Google search. And, if you can't find what you're looking for in your own data, you can click on a "Search the Web" button to submit the same search for an online query.

It's a very fast search that seems to give results that are similar in quality to the online experience. Overall, I think they've done a fantastic job with this. I hope that our upcoming search technologies can equal or exceed what they've demonstrated here. For more information, read this O'Reilly Network article.

Comments (6)

  1. Lynn Eriksen says:

    Interesting technology, but it’s kind of sad that WinFS won’t ship unitl gosh – 2008 I guess. That’s more than just search – that leveraging pretty much anything that a database can do against the file system. If WinFS would have shipped in 2006 (I already hate speaking in past tense about this) things like this would be novelties and place holders. But it does fit the big question ‘Where’s my stuff?".

    I guess Longhorn at PDC 2003 was a dream. It was a very good dream though. I hope the combination of Avalon, Indigo and WinFS ships eventaully.

    It was the synergy of these three things that made longhorn so appealing.

  2. Frustrated user says:

    The installer is really sad – won’t install if you don’t have 1GB free on C:, even though I have lots of space on other drives.

  3. Fred says:

    Take this post as a trackback. There are some of my toughs about the product, privacy and security in mind:

  4. Fred says:


    Okay, there is the part 2 of my thoughts about the subject. It talk about the logging problem with AIM chat software. I think that it’s always a good thing to know:

  5. CS says:

    If you’re interested in google’s desktop search tool, you’d probably be interested in ESP ( I’ve used it for over a year and love it!

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