If you've been watching the industry news headlines, you know that Google has been busy. Google is an ever-expanding force. It's trying hard to expand beyond being a search engine company. Who knows? Maybe it'll be successful. But sometimes expanding beyond limits means you'll explode. Mount St. Helens, watch out!
Most of what I've seen from Google over the past few years, I've really liked. With its latest release, I'm not quite sure I feel that same way.
Google recently released the beta of its Desktop Search Tool --
I installed this recently and here are some of the things I found. The installation was seamless (except for the regular local firewall warnings about some program trying to access the Internet). It installed a component that needed to sift through my local computer, which took some serious CPU cycles until it finished. I then noticed a Desktop icon for the Google Desktop search (why does anyone install an icon to the desktop anymore?) and an icon in my System Tray. I don't mind the System Tray icon as much as someone trying to clutter my normal desktop. Why? Well, I simply can't see my Startgate SG-1 wallpaper as well if vendors keep installing icons without asking me.
But here's the kicker about the Google Desktop. When you do a search, everything that gets indexed (you can choose the items) shows up in an IE Web page. OK, that's nice, but how many Microsoft Outlook e-mails do you really want to view in a Web page? The output reminds me of the Google groups interface, which is hard to read and navigate.
I've watched several communities since the Google Desktop Search release and, while some folks like the new Google tool, I can see a fair number of people agree with me. I understand that Google wants to leverage what has gotten it this far (the Web), but a lot of people like me spend almost their entire day in Microsoft Outlook. If I'm going to pick a tool to help me enhance my daily duties, I'm going to pick the one that best integrates with what I'm doing now. This is why I chose IntraVnews for my RSS Reader. Work with me -- don't try to change my work habits. That costs me time.
Personally, I'm still loving Lookout (a recent Microsoft acquisition). You can get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=09b835ee-16e5-4961-91b8-2200ba31ea37&DisplayLang=en. And read more about it here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=33217.
After testing Google Desktop, I'll stick with Lookout until Google gives me something better. Of course, this is just a beta version, so we'll wait and see if Google can improve on it.
On a similar note, some who didn't like either Lookout or the Google Desktop Search, raved about Copernic's latest Desktop Search tool: http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/index.html.
I tried this a few weeks ago and agree it's a great tool. I was using Copernic's products long before there was a Google. But Copernic's Desktop Search is also an external application (external to Microsoft Outlook), which doesn't fit into my daily work habits. Also, the indexing seemed to take a lot of my computer's CPU cycles -- too many for me to be happy with it and I have a powerhouse of a machine. Your experience may be different. Try it out if you get a chance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Trent, manager of myITforum.com and Microsoft MVP is a leading expert on Microsoft Systems Management Server. He has more than 18 years of IT experience -- eight of which have been dedicated to SMS. He is the author of such books as Microsoft SMS Installer, Admin911:SMS, and IIS 5.0: A Beginner's Guide, and has written literally thousands of articles on technology topics.
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This was first published in October 2004