The IT technology world has turned on it head. Much is being made of the new Google Desktop. This free program allows Windows users to do a Google search of the Web or some of their local desktop files and assets in the same way as they do a normal Google search. The local filetypes supported are:
# Outlook 2000+ and Outlook Express 5+ email files;
# Search files in TXT, HTML, DOC, XLS, and PPT formats (Office 2000+);
# Search chats from AOL 7+ and AOL Instant Messenger 5+;
# Search web pages viewed in Internet Explorer 5+ .
Whats interesting about this announcement is that a)it is very Microsoft centric – the program only runs in Windows 2000 and XP and the search files it supports are again primarily Microsoft, b)requires users turning ona rapidly obsoleting and security plagued ActiveX-in-browser technology and b)it is such a “following” technology. Other free programs (see below) are less restrictive and more feature packed. I had expected much better from Google. It seems Google is willing to sacrifice a lot for the benefit of having a fast and easy download (because of the tiny module) and intimate relations with Microsofts data assets.
Even more astonishing is that Microsoft is following the follower. Microsoft has nothing available to respond to Google and others although it has bought Looktop desktop search engine technology earlier this year. Yet again on major desktop OS capability, Microsoft appears to be “innovating” by following and then using its monopoly power to muscle in as a late adopter. Granted, Redmond may provide more features than Google but so do a lot of other players.
Dont Knee Jerk to Google
Dont get me wrong, Google has a GREAT Internet search engine. I stay in Google and Copernic (which uses Google and ten other search engines) a good portion of the day. But there are some attractive alternatives to Google Desktop.
Blinkx is a free IE browser addon add-on that ataches itself to the titlebar of IE. It does roughly the same search of desktop filetypes as GoogleDesktop, but has a neater crosslinking capability and neat UI. Blinkx has a number of additional modules available (still free for now) that enhance its search and find capabilities.
Copernic Desktop Search is a free standalone desktop search engine that has all the features of Google Desktop plus more file types support and more controllable auto indexing features Copernic also has along history of great meta-Web and other search software.
DTSearch Desktop is the jack-of-all-trades of Web+Desktop searching capabilities. For $129, you have a Web Spyder as well as one of the most versatile PC desktop search engines at your command.
Enfish has a 30 day free trial and costs $200 per seat. The number of options and data files types that Enfish supports is broader set of file types for search inluding Adobe PDF, ACT! sales files, Lotus Notes, any .dbf database files among others.
ISYS desktop has a fourteen day free trial version. ISYS has many different feaures for accessing data within your desktop hard drives in cluding two query modes – English language like and simple command syntax. It also has a scratch knowledge repository as well.
X1 is a standalone desktop search engine available for free for 15 days and costs $75. It indexes 255 diferent filetypes and provides the contents of those files while users type in X1s editor window. X1 is is very fast and also responds to a search window query as well. With X1 you never lose eMail or document contents – it finds them fast.
Of all these desktop search tools my personal favories are Copernic, Blinkx, and X1 because they have a robust set of file types supported, some control on what and how often indexing is done and each has a unique way of invoking and displaying results. I prefer X1s in editor approach in some cases, and others the Copernic/Blinkx summary. Take a good look at these options – they are all a step ahead of Google Desktop …plus Copernic and Blinkx, like Google, are free.