Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Desktop Search Engines

I've been testing out just about every freely available desktop search engine. I love the idea but tend to hate the implementations. My major complaints are:

  1. File support is lacking. I know they can't support all file formats but Microsoft Office is not the only office suite out there. Outlook is also not the only e-mail client. Some support the suite, Firefox and Thunderbord exists but it's hit or miss.
  2. The interfaces are terrible. Google gives you something akin to their web page but it's too small for a big result set. Yahoo and Copernic do a bit better, with a grid-like list that is more compact and straightforward.
  3. Results are inconsistent. It's the typical problem of balance. Some return too few results. which means you miss what you are looking for. Others too many which nullifies the whole reason for the desktop search engine.
If we had the Google engine with a better interface, it would probably be the winner. The plug-in architecture makes the difference. So what if Google doesn't search documents. There is a plug-in for it. It also seems to have the best balance between too little and too much information.

If only the interface was better...

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