Google Releases Desktop Search Tool
Picked this up first from the Washington Post: “Google released a free tool today that lets people simultaneously search the Web and their personal computers for information, a move analysts described as a potential blow to rivals.” You can no doubt read more at the Washington web site, if you agree to subscribe, or you can go straight to the google desktop web site, download the tool and start playing!
Basically, it looks like the google desktop tool installs a local web server that serves an index of your Outlook & Outlook Express messages, Word files, AOL Instant Messenger messages, PowerPoint files, Internet Explorer browser history and Excel and text files. Seems like it will not do PDF for now. You can then start searching over your local hard disk and the web (or only one of them if you so choose). I have the indexing running in the background now: doesn’t seem to slow down my computer at all – very unlike some of the other tools that do this. The interface looks typically-google-simple and responses are very fast. This looks like a fine tool indeed!
I certainly haven’t been the only one who has been playing with this kind of technology for a long time now: good old Enfish, Copernic, blinkx, and others all offer similar functionality – see for instance the recent review at ZDNET. However, I am sure that, now that google is involved, we’ll see a much more even distribution of the future (with apologies to William Gibson)!