Thursday, November 15, 2007

Google Desktop Search bites the dust

I've posted frequently since January 2005 about various approaches to full text search in Windows XP in general and Outlook 2003 in particular.

My test environment is harsh. GBs of Outlook PST files. GBs of documents. Machine never rests. Hard drive always on the edge of meltdown.

The best solution, by an order of magnitude, was Lookout for Outlook. Fast, stable, and the bugs are manageable. Alas, it conflicted with some other Outlook Add-Ins (that environment reminds me of DOS TSR hell). Lookout also doesn't work in Outlook 2007 and it's definitely not supported anywhere, so I thought I needed to change. That was probably a mistake.

I used Yahoo Desktop Search for a while, but it was increasingly buggy and Yahoo finally abandoned it. It reverted back to X1 but it was even buggier when I tried their version.

Recently I decided Windows Desktop Search was my only option. It was slow and sucked performance, but it did all I needed and it incorporated Lookout's search syntax (see the help file). Unfortunately, my work machine has been possessed lately.

I'd removed about everything I could think of to try to stabilize my system, so it was time to remove WDS and try the only remaining contender Google Desktop Search.

Yech. This is what I wrote when I uninstalled it:
... I don't have enough control over indexing behavior. I don't have enough search syntax control - esp. for outlook tasks vs. email search. It was WAY slow to do a search against my multi-GB Outlook archives. It doesn't treat folders as first class search objects...
So now what do I do? I could buy a MacBook Pro and run XP in a VM, but Spotlight won't search PST files.

I need full text search - esp. of PST files.

I'm going to try Lookout again; I've gotten rid of most of my Outlook plug-ins / add-ins anyway.

Gee whiz, I miss my home OS X machines. I know people complain about Vista, but I'm not a great fan of any Microsoft products at the moment (though my problems, to be fair, may be hardware related). Even my beloved Windows Live Writer is buggier at the 1.0 release than it was in the last two beta versions!

Update 11/16/07: Joe Cheng (see comment) noted I hadn't submitted my WLW bug reports. They're really not awful, but they stood out relative to the perfection of the last beta. One is certainly a bug -- the category/tag names can be truncated randomly (last few characters are missing). The other two I need to prove are really bugs, which is a bit tough since my Dell laptop is definitely flaky.

I'm going to be more careful going forward about what I call a bug ...

Update 11/16/07b: The regressions (bugs) will soon be history. In the meantime don't use the Post to Weblog as Draft feature with Blogger.

3 comments:

Joe Cheng [MSFT] said...

Even my beloved Windows Live Writer is buggier at the 1.0 release than it was in the last two beta versions!

If you really mean that we'd love to hear details... please e-mail me at joe.cheng *AT* microsoft.com. Thanks!

John Gordon said...

I was able to demonstrate two regressions from the last beta:

1. Post as Draft to Blogger after saving locally actually Posts. (Doesn't occur in beta tested at same time).

2. Truncation of the end of the string (name) of categories. Sometimes one character, sometimes a word. Hit about 3-5 of maybe 20 strings, but it always affects the same strings.

The other problems may be flaws in my machine, network, or Blogger so I need to test those further.

Needless to say the WLW team takes customer concerns very seriously!

I'm sure these bugs will be squashed with a vengeance. WLW is my favorite Windows app, and my main motivation to run a Windows VM on OS X.

Rob P. said...

You can use Lookout with Outlook 2007. See this blog posting:

http://www.wirwar.com/blog/2008/01/22/search-e-mail-at-lightspeed-using-lookout-with-outlook-2007/