Google Desktop Search isn’t a big disappointment, but it does have its frustrations

Back when the beta arrived, I wrote that Google Desktop Search is a disappointment because it didn’t support indexing Firefox history or Thunderbird mail. Later I praised its good points.

Now that the product has been released, I thought I should follow up. First off, the seem to have retained the good points. It remains a tiny download, even with added features; it is fast; and it doesn’t hog a lot of resources when it is idle, at least on my home desktop.

They also addressed my main gripe by adding support for indexing Firefox History and Thunderbird e-mail. And while they didn’t address my desire to index my blog, they did provide a Plugin SDK, which has allowed someone else to create a plugin called Kongulo that can index web sites which should meet that need.

One notable feature of their plugin SDK is that it can handle compound files and index each item as a separate record, for example, indexing each row in a spreadsheet or database separately. The desktop search products from Microsoft and Copernic also have APIs, but appearantly have to index the entire contents of a file as a single record.

Of course, now that I’ve got the full version, I note that it has other shortcomings. For one thing, its still a bit jarring to see items from my PC listed in the same page as a Google internet search. That I can get over (or turn off).

Harder to deal with is that GDS happily indexes the spam folders in my e-mail. I’d like to be to exclude mail folders easily, but according to their support, its currently not possible.

I’ve also noticed that when I tell GDS to open an e-mail from my search results in Thunderbird, it opens the wrong message.

The fact that the search interface is ordinary HTML also has some frustrations. It makes it difficult impossible to quickly resort and scan search results by other meta data like sender, recipient or date.

In any case, I’m hapy to see GDS supporting the browser and e-mail I use, and I look forward to Onfolio releasing a plugin so I can search my collection of web clippings at the same time I search e-mail and the like.

One thought on “Google Desktop Search isn’t a big disappointment, but it does have its frustrations

  1. Anthony

    Yeah, sounds pretty cool. I haven’t tried it, since I’m still “on the wagon,” Windows-wise.

    I’m quite looking forward to Apple’s 10.4 release. The Spotlight technology looks kickass and seems to address all of the GDS shortcomings.

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