Monday, August 22, 2005

Google Desktop Incorporates a blend of Launchbar and Spotlight

Google Desktop 2.0 is big disappointing.

Update 8/24: Even bigger disappointment. After it finally built my indices (took days) I tried it out. I learned that:
  1. It doesn't match on folder names. In other words, to GoD folders are invisible annoyances. ARGGHHH. The fools, the fools. This one just bit the dust.
  2. It took forever to build the index, and you can't relocate it to a non-backed up drive without an unsupported utility.
  3. Lookout search works, but I couldn't contrain what things were indexed and I couldn't restrict search to particular object types (tasks, etc).
I'm back to Yahoo Desktop! and Lookout for Outlook (now a zombie -- no further development going on post-Microsoft acquisition). I may try a look at MSN search sometime but I fear it doesn't include enough of Lookout's capabilities to be worth a switch.

Update: Biggest disappointment -- I can't find a keyboard shortcut so I can search and execute without a mouse. I'm sure one will be added shortly!

One of the most interesting features, however, may be a blend between OS X Launchbar (my favorite must have OS X utility) and Spotlight (which I'm still trying to find a use for -- if I didn't use Launchbar it would be more useful). That blend is precisely what I've been missing. They probably haven't incorporated, however, Launchbar's brilliant machine learning algorithms. (BTW, why doesn't Launchbar wrap Spotlight? Update 8/24: I'm told it will!!)
Quick Find makes launching applications and searching your desktop easy and fast. From within any application, just type a few letters or words into Sidebar's search box and you'll see the top results pop up instantly. You can use Quick Find to launch applications without having to deal with the Start menu; for example, if you have Microsoft Word installed, you can launch it by just typing 'wor' into the Sidebar search box and selecting 'Microsoft Word' in the list of results that appears. You can also use Quick Find from the Deskbar and Floating Deskbar, which are described in a separate section.
A few quick notes:
  1. It's supposed to index tasks, calendar items, etc. We'll see. They mean Outlook but I wish they'd say so.
  2. You can index networked drives and non C:\ drives. That's big, this was a major limitation of 1.0.
  3. The Sidebar is an application deployment environment (aka an 'operating system' in which one can install other applications. Shades of Konfabulator and OS X Widgets. This is a shared desktop that can be accessed via any XP box (but NOT a Mac -- peculiar that Google should be driving their audience to Microsoft's platform)
  4. You still can't move or relocate your index file, so you have to explicitly avoid backing it up. Annoying.
  5. GMail indexing is most interesting. In my case, makes up for not indexing Eudora.
  6. The deskbar does replace the Start menu.

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