Just released today is the beta edition of Google's new Desktop Search
. This is a little app that you download and install on your PC. When your first start it up, it runs a one-time process where it scans and builds an index of files, emails, and web history on your PC. Then you use a browser interface to search this index with the same lightning fast speed that you search the Internet with. Why has it taken so long for us to get something like this??
Currently Google Desktop Search scans the following types of items:
- Outlook / Outlook Express email messages
- AOL Instant Messenger conversations
- Internet Explorer pages (it caches pages you have visited)
- Text files
- Word documents
- Excel spreadsheets
- Powerpoint files
For other types of files (PDF's, MP3's, etc.) , its supposed to at least index the file names. Google Labs will be improving this product over time and adding in more features as well as the ability to search more types of files.
I've just now installed it and the index is currently building. I'll provide more info after i've been able to play with it for a while but so far i'm very impressed. Getting the instant results of a search of my Outlook email is amazing.
Here are some more links...
Get the download
The About and FAQ page
Actually this is nothing new at all!
To give you an idea of how long ago this type of thing was available, I used a similar search tool, in 1997, from Altavista with my Win95 workstations, NT server, and Internet Explorer 3. It could even be configured to index all or part of the data on the server. So to answer your question, this idea has been around for a long time.
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