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WOW, Now You Can Have Google Search YOUR Desktop!

Now the amazing searching ease you have come to know and love with Google can search your very own hard drive for free. Google beat Microsoft by two years on this feature. Microsoft will not have this out until there next operating sytem upgrade Longhorn in two years. You can download the Google tool for free at their site.

Google Desktp search indexes the full text of:

  • Email within Outlook or Outlook Express (notes, contacts, journal and to do list items are not included, nor are emails in the Deleted Items folder)
  • Microsoft Word, Excel & PowerPoint files
  • AOL Instant Messenger chats
  • Web pages viewed online in Internet Explorer or any HTML file saved to your computer
  • Plain text files

The tool also indexes the text within the file names of image in JPEG or GIF formats, giving it rudimentary image search capabilities. File names of Adobe Acrobat PDF content and names of some other file types are also indexed. Full text indexing of information in these files is NOT done. Unlike with Gmail or regular Google searches, ads are not shown with desktop search results or content viewed through desktop search.

Google Desktop Search is only for Windows XP or Windows 2000 users -- no news on a Mac version from Google, sorry. Once installed, the application starts indexing information on your computer in the file types it understands. At the moment, only files on your primary hard drive (the C: drive for most people) are indexed. Those on additional hard drives won't be searchable.

Indexing is fast and only happens when your computer is idle for 30 seconds or longer. Once the index is built, it is continually updated with changes on the fly. Get a new email? Visit a new web page? All this information is automatically recorded and made searchable within seconds.

Awesome Automatic Caching
Each time you view something, a snapshot of what you've seen is created. Did you visit the same web page several times in a month? A copy of the page each time you visited is made. The "1 cached" link will change to reflect the number of copies recorded.

This is a fantastic way to keep a record of exactly what you've seen on the web and how you saw it, over time. On many occasions, I've wanted to go back and see how a web page may have looked a few days ago, a few weeks ago and so on. Tools like the Internet Archive have sometimes helped, but not always. The new tool Seruku is another solution, but at a small cost.

Now Google Desktop Search makes it easy to painlessly preserve your own archive of what you've seen and for free. It becomes a "TiVO for the web."

In addition, the cached copies of your local files provides some automatic backup insurance. Make a change to a file, then wish you hadn't? Visiting your cached copies may help you get back some of what was modified. The data won't be in the original document format -- with spreadsheets, it can especially look weird, but some of what you grab may help.

New York Times October 15, 2004

New York Times October 18, 2004

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