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working with the web

Google Desktop Search Rocks

Can Google do no wrong?

I downloaded and installed the beta version of Google Desktop Search, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s been noted that it’s not doing anything that other desktop search apps haven’t already done – Copernic for files and Lookout for Outlook, for example – but damn, it’s fast and most importantly, it’s simple. And free.

I especially like the Outlook indexing – at the moment, seeing as I’m on holidays and my TabletPC is out of action, my desktop Outlook consists of no less than five PST files, ranging in size from 20MB to over 700MB. When you have emails in your search results, you can click on the result to see the full message in the browser with links to view other messages in the “conversation” ala GMail. It’s very slick. I used Lookout in Outlook, and while it’s very fast, I find the search results window a little annoying. Google Desktop Search’s browser-based search results, on the other hand, show you the an excerpt of matched text, and after years of Google’s conditioning, it seems very natural to scan search results that way.

One thing that it doesn’t do (yet) is index Firefox’s history. As the program is still in beta, Google have provided a feedback form which even lists Mozilla Firefox as a program you might like them to support, so go vote!

I read that it required 1GB of disk space to install. I have plenty of free space on my PC, so it wasn’t an issue, however it’s definitely not using anywhere near that much space – the program files directory is 1.3MB and there’s a Documents and Settings folder which is 384MB after indexing around 15GB of documents on my PC and 900-odd MB of Outlook. Not bad.

All in all, although it’s not cool anymore to be gushing about Google, I think their Desktop Search rocks!

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