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babbage's Journal: Google Desktop Search + Apache Reverse Proxy for LAN search

Journal by babbage

So Google has finally offered a form of desktop search, but it only works on localhost. This seems reasonable for the average home user, but an obstacle to setting up something even cooler: a slick Google powered local LAN search engine. Think about it: even on a mostly Mac / Linux network, you can set up one Windows box that has Samba mounted your main network shares with the Google software, and through the magic of HTTP reverse proxying, your whole LAN can have a nice Google search interface into your local documentation.

So. The obvious thing to try then is to set up Apache (or Squid, or similar software) running as a reverse proxy on that machine.

The first thing I did when finding out about this tool was to install it on a spare Windows machine with a couple of Samba mounted network drives (I'm hoping that it will index the content of these drives, but I can't tell yet), then set up Apache as a reverse proxy to provide the indexed material as a URL that would be widely accessible on the local LAN.

So far I can't quite get it to work -- I can connect from another computer (a Mac running Safari), but first I get complaints about running the wrong browser, and then I get errors about invalid URLs that apparently aren't being passed through. Still though, it seems certain that this should be doable, and if it can be done, this would beat the living snot out of the current ht://Dig based search engine we're using.

Google is right to make this tool inaccessible from non-localhost access -- the average home user does not need to have the contents of their hard drive set up with an easy to browse, globally accessible search interface. And I can see where Google wouldn't want this to work on LANs either -- it would cut into their business of selling search appliances. But come on, this is right on the cusp of working as it is, and it's only in beta. If Google doesn't provide a way to turn on access for local (e.g. 192.168.x.x) addresses, I'm sure that Apache or something like it can be configured to do this.

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Google Desktop Search + Apache Reverse Proxy for LAN search

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