Further impressions on google desktop search

I’ve been spending a bit of time with Google desktop search, despite the fact that it doesn’t index most of the content I care about (my non-MS e-mail and browsing history).

There is much to like about it, which makes it that much more disappointing that I can’t immediately make use of its full feature set.

  • The download is tiny, well under a 1 MB

  • Indexing seems relatively unobtrusive. It only runs when the machine is idle, but most importantly, it seems to use a minimum of both memory and disk access. The result is that the system doesn’t spend a bunch of time shuffling whatever application you are using back in from disk when you start using your computer again.

    This is my impression, at least. Dave Winer anecdotally seems to be having performance problems related to indexing. I wonder if he is using it on a laptop. My experience is that most laptops have excedingly bad hard disk performance

  • Lookup performance is excellent and memory footprint while idle is small. I get a screen of results back in a second. This seems faster than any of the desktop search products I’ve used lately which work from an index.

  • It actually indexed my D: drive, in addition to my C: drive. People have been complaining that it’ll only index the primary drive, but I’ve been getting results from files on D. Sadly, it didn’t suprise me by indexing my firefox mail or my mozilla cache. So far as I can tell, it didn’t even index the underlying files, ignorant of their proper context, even though they are right there on C.

There are definitely some weird bits. For example, any HTML page is classified as part of my web history, even if they html documentation files.

I can’t quite articulate my frustration with Google’s omission of Firefox and Thunderbird support. I think I probably overstated the case earlier when I said that Google was neglecting the sorts of people most likely to give a cool new product a boost. I think that Firefox and Thunderbird are great, but i’m sure there are a huge number of people who don’t use them who are still less than staid in their technology choices.

I think my frustration stems from two things. First, I’m simply disappointed that I am left out. But its not as simple as that, there is something subtle about google snubbing an up-and-coming underdog that reminds me that they’ve entered a new phase in their development.

That said, there are two things I’d love to see.

  1. Indexing of Thunderbird mail and Firefox browser history

  2. Indexing of my blog, secured by requiring an apporpriate entry in robots.txt so that I don’t get hit by bandwidth bills from other people indexing my blog (assuming such people exist).
In the long run, allowing 3rd party’s to create plugins would be great.