Google Desktop Search

Google announced this afternoon the launch of a desktop search application perhaps in response to Microsoft's recent offering Lookout (An addin to Outlook to search e-mail, contacts, calendar, and filesystem). Desktop search is undoubtedly going to be a big thing, but Microsoft's purchase of Lookout Soft could equally have been motivated by the need to introduce Gmail like capabilities to Outlook.

On Google's Desktop Search, I like how it integrates with regular Google intercepting results from a regular google search and inserting results generated by the local search app. Unfortunately it is only partially integrated with Firefox and currently web pages viewed in Firefox are not added to the local search database. Also it doesn't currently bring up Gmail results which is a surprising omission, though is surely only around the corner - and will be great once it arrives. There's more technical discussion at WebmasterWorld.

John Battelle, search commentator, notes five key advantages to Google from this move;

  • Google gain a major insight into your desktop
  • Using desktop search you are viewing it through Google's interface
  • using personal search data G can make all search more relevant
  • everything is now searchable
  • client application provides new opportunities for add ons
Danny Sullivan has written comprehensive notes as well.

So when is the Google Instant Messenger coming? I could use a reliable cross-platform, searchable IM tool.


Here is the text of Google's media release:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - October 14, 2004 - Google Inc. today announced a beta desktop search application that enables users to search their email, files, web history, and chats. Called Google Desktop Search, this new application makes it possible for users to find information on their computers as fast and easily as they can search the web with Google.

"Google Desktop Search brings the power of Google to your personal
information on your own computer. As easily as searching Google, you
can instantly search your files, local email, the web pages you have
seen, and more," said Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president
of products." It's free, installs quickly, and keeps completely up
to date. Google Desktop Search represents a quantum leap in access
to your own information."

Google Desktop Search is a lightweight, free, downloadable
application that brings Google search to information on your
computer. The application operates locally on the user's computer,
where it provides the following capabilities:

- Find email, files and more. Users can search across their email
and a wide range of files and information such as email in Microsoft
Outlook and Outlook Express; files in Microsoft Word, Microsoft
Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and text; website history in Internet
Explorer; and instant message chats in AOL Instant Messenger.

- Searches fast like Google. can search billions of web
pages in a fraction of a second. Google Desktop Search is built with
the same technology, and it can search a single hard drive in even
less time.

- Easy access to desktop results via Search. Google
Desktop Search enables users to search both their computer and the
web simultaneously. When users search through (either
from the homepage or the Google Toolbar), Google Desktop Search runs
the same search in parallel on the user's computer. If Google
Desktop Search finds relevant results, those results are added to
the search results page. This means, users don't need to
decide before they search whether to search the web or their
computer. From a single start point, they get both.

- Fresh, dynamic results. Unlike traditional computer search
software that updates once a day, Google Desktop Search updates
continuously for most file types. When a user downloads a new email
in Outlook, for example, it can be found within seconds using Google
Desktop Search.

As with all Google products, Google Desktop Search is designed from
the ground up to respect user privacy. When a user chooses to search
simultaneously across his or her computer and, the
computer's content is not made accessible to Google, or to anyone
else, without the user's express permission. Users can select what
information they want to have searched, and easily remove
information whenever they want.

Google Desktop Search/
It is currently available for Windows XP and Windows 2000 Service Pack
3 and above. It requires a minimum of 128MB of RAM, and a 400MHz (or
faster) Pentium processor is recommended. Google Desktop Search is
available in English today and there are plans to make it available
in other languages.

Posted by Paul in Search Tech at October 14, 2004 06:50 PM