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Google Businesses The Internet Software

Google Adds Features and Plugin to Desktop Search 274

Posted by timothy
from the those-guys-are-everywhere dept.
Matthew Bischoff writes "Today Google added new features to its popular desktop software. Google Desktop now supports alternative Netscape based browsers like Firefox, PDFs, images, video, and music files. Google also added a plug-ins feature so that developers can integrate their software into the Google Desktop catalog. Another new addition is a supported way to search from Google's deskbar software. It's probably a matter of time until we see desktop search integrated into all of the Google products including the controversial Google Toolbar 3." Google Desktop is also officially now out of beta.
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Google Adds Features and Plugin to Desktop Search

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  • by panic911 (224370) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:30PM (#11870684) Homepage
    If you go to toolbar.google.com [google.com] in firefox (or Netscape, I assume), they now promote the open-source googlebar extension for Firefox. They also offer a toolbar 3.x beta for IE now.

    Also, they have setup a download page where you can grab individual download packages, or all of their packages in one zip file. www.google.com/downloads/ [google.com]

    And of course there was the slashdot article [slashdot.org], the other day describing the new Weather feature and Gmail Improvements.
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by B3ryllium (571199) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:32PM (#11870701) Homepage
    Great! Now if only IE and Windows were out of beta, we'd be set.
  • by tabkey12 (851759) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:32PM (#11870717) Homepage
    Who wants WinFS [slashdot.org] in 2 or 3 years when you can have Google Desktop Search now, for free?

    Also, good to see Google isn't doing an eternal beta on this product like its Google News offering (the whole beta thing gets annoying after 2 continuous years!)

    • Why is it annoying? Your not losing any functionality because its labeled "Beta". What they are doing is saying "hey this product is good, and its gonna be even better some day investors". Its alot better, I think then releasing a product a la "Windows" with bugs and its share of flaws.
      • What they* are also saying is that "hey this product is good, and if you criticize it then this is in beta and it's not finished yet." At least when companies like Apple release unfinished software [arstechnica.com], they have customers to answer to. If you criticize Google, then how dare you criticize a free service.

        * Google fanboys, of course. Google as a public company doesn't say shit.
    • by PxM (855264) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:36PM (#11870781)
      Also, good to see Google isn't doing an eternal beta on this product like its Google News offering (the whole beta thing gets annoying after 2 continuous years!)

      That's a legal issue. If Google starts making money from other news sites without actually paying them, then they risk legal action for use of copyrighted material. Right now, they have no ads because this (in theory) puts them in the fair use section

      --
      Free iPod? Try a free Mac Mini [freeminimacs.com]
      Or a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox [freegamingsystems.com]
      Wired article as proof [wired.com]
      • For more info see here [slashdot.org].
      • If Google starts making money from other news sites without actually paying them, then they risk legal action for use of copyrighted material.

        You mean, like Slashdot has been doing since before Google was a little more than an overactive synapse? Of course, Slashdot has ads, and subscriptions, and is clearly motivated by profit. Is Rob Malda going to prison now? ($250k+5 years*how many articles with verbatim quotations?)

        Fair use allows for this sort of thing. It is not written, "Thou shalt not make m
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:33PM (#11870734)
    So is there any catch to their desktop tool ?
    I assume they're not risking their "don't do any bad "-policy for this ?

    So what -is- the catch ?
    I am fedup with using the regurlar search in Windows, so I am defenitely in for some improvement.

    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:44PM (#11870903) Journal
      I'm hoping that they updated the caching mechanism, as IIRC it didn't remove documents that you had moved or deleted. While this is handy sometimes for retrieving accidentally lost information, it does present a bit of a problem in that sometimes you really *want* that information gone.

      That was about it, IIRC. Maybe there will be a plug-in for it so that if it is still around, there will be an add-on to allow full updates.
  • I've had Google Desktop Search installed on my main machine for a couple months now.

    What, exactly does it do? Find files by name? I already have a tool to do that.

    I mean, it's just another useless service to run.

    I'm being serious. Tell me something neat and impressive that I can make it do, so I too can start preaching the genious of Google.

    I tried searching, for example, for some phrases that I know are in some sourcecode files I have. It didn't find the files containing the code. I guess it doesn
    • by lelitsch (31136) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:43PM (#11870881)
      Find every occurence of a name in 400MB worth of email in less than a second. Something that crashes Eudora and takes forever in Outlook.
      • Cool.

        I don't delete emails. I happen to be using Outlook, too.

        Google search doesnt (the version I tried) index the mailbox.pst file. Maybe it does now. My .pst file is 724,304KB at the moment.

        So searching all my email for all references to a particular product takes... 29 seconds for a full text search. Less than two for a subject line only search.

        Google does this better or faster? How please, because like I said, it didn't index the .pst file at all when I tried it.

        If it works, then maybe that's
        • Google search doesnt (the version I tried) index the mailbox.pst file. Maybe it does now. My .pst file is 724,304KB at the moment.

          Google Desktop Search has searched email since it was first available. There is no version that can't search email. Are you sure you haven't got the email search turned off (right click the icon in the task bar, choose preferences).

          So searching all my email for all references to a particular product takes... 29 seconds for a full text search. Less than two for a subject l

      • Who cares? Mac OS X Mail.app does this already. It's just like iTunes.
    • by typobox43 (677545) <typobox43@gmail.com> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:43PM (#11870892) Homepage
      There is a plugin [google.com] for this new version of Google Desktop search that allows you to specify additional file extensions to search as text files - for example, your .c and .h files.
      • Windows also needs a plugin.

        I thought at the very least, the search tools would have an automatic list of files to EXCLUDE.

        Get rid of avi files and iso images (by default) and large archives, and I might actually find whats in front of me.

        I hate NOT knowing whats missing, and its worse knowing there is a file right in front of me, but the search tool refuses to index it.

        I made my own in the end, and it handles everything I can throw at it.
    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870943) Journal
      It finds files by content, and much faster than does the Windows search. Without indexing on, Windows must search every file individually. With the caching on, it's somewhat faster, but still abysmally slow compared to Google's search. There were some very painful limitations until now, particularly the lack of PDF searches. I'm hoping that there will be some ability to customize the searches somewhat further to allow for searching straight text files like .c, .h, or .php.

      Google's search utility uses a variant of their own caching technology to make searches much faster. The new plug-in technology will allow someone to make add-ons for searching code.
      • I've been playing with those desktop search engines last week.

        I used to keep most stuff on my server and have the indexing server + a lot of IFilters index it all, and it was searcheable by a webpage. Not exactly the perfect solution, but so far, none of the desktop search tools have really been much better.

        The only one (which is the worst overall IMHO and MS owned) who uses IFilter is the MSN junk (you couldn't pay me enough to install anything that says "MSN" on my PC anyways).

        GDS and Copernic have ver
    • Uh, read the feature list. If you don't like it, don't use it. Windows built in search won't help you find that website you saw the other day but can't remember now and can't find in your history. Windows built in search is shitty for finding content inside files, and Outlook is shitty at finding content inside emails.

      It's just a little better. Enough that it's worth using, while Windows built in search is not.
    • The more I've played with this, the more useful it's been. It's not been terribly useful on my home PC...but at work, it's a godsend.

      For example: I did a GDS search for the name of a server I was building last week.

      Bam. I got every document I had about that server. The online change requests. The service requests to site engineering. The operational handbook I wrote. The inventory spreadsheet.

      Wow. That was pretty cool.

      I also found out that while GDS doesn't index networked drives/shares, it *will* include documents on the network that you have opened in its search results. That was pretty good too.

      It's also useful on a couple of our intranet sites. Just this morning I had to find a change request for a server - using the search mechanism of our change system is difficult at best - but because I could search it in Google, it came up right away.

    • I'm being serious. Tell me something neat and impressive that I can make it do, so I too can start preaching the genious of Google.

      * It has automatic IM logging and fast searching among logs. I used to save all my chats in a folder and use Windows file find to find stuff. I still save the chats, but I use GDS to search the text (and pull up the original if necessary).

      * It finds most common file types (read: MS Office, and whatever you write a plugin for) and can search within them, quickly. It searches a
    • but the built in search already does that.

      because it doesn't have the world's most *@#!* irritating dog built in, maybe?

      (my comp is a little old, and everything grinds to a halt every time I need to search for something and that damn dog turns up ... and the search interface is so user friendly, too)

      yes, I have rage against the Windows Search Dog >:(
    • Do you use email? I search through 4 900+ MB .pst files in seconds.
    • I just did a search for the name of an API library (called YlqLib) written by a co-worker that I needed to use recently. GDS instantly returned these results:
      1. An email (and reply) I sent to the author asking about the API.
      2. A Java source file that I wrote that uses YlqLib.
      3. An email about an MS Exchange public folder created to discuss YlqLib
      4. A Word doc written as a requirements doc for YlqLib.
      5. A PDF of the YlqLib Programmer's Guide (intended for our customers.)
      6. The HTML javadoc page for YlqLib

      There's lot

    • > What, exactly does it do? Find files by name? I already have a tool to do that.

      What tool? Windows has something built in, but it will take half an hour to find the file but Google Desktop Search can do it in a few milliseconds.

      > Tell me something neat and impressive that I can make it do,

      Search your entire email in 20ms.

      > I tried searching, for example, for some phrases that I know are in
      > some sourcecode files I have. It didn't find the files containing the code.

      You were using a BETA. Ev
  • Bad Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FzArEkTaH (865743) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:35PM (#11870764)
    It's bad enough my tech-retarded roomate try's to find my pr0n when he "goin on ebay" with this the desktop search he may actually be able to find something

    No thanks i'm keepin it off my machine!

  • by UCFFool (832674) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:35PM (#11870771)
    The GoogleBar better be able to search for a few good mixed drink recipes, otherwise this is the worst bar yet!
    I was already disappointed with the ToolBar that did not have any 18v cordless versions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:36PM (#11870783)
    In other news, SUSE Pro 9.3 is said to be released this Wednesday the 9th, with Beagle (Desktop search) and iPod support, according to the following article which even Novell.com links to on their front page:

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/linuxunix/0,390 20 390,39190538,00.htm

    Is Google Desktop Search > Beagle?
  • Spellcheck and PDF (Score:5, Informative)

    by JaxWeb (715417) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:37PM (#11870798) Homepage Journal
    I think most Slashdotters will be pleased (or at least would be, if they used IE) with the new Spellcheck feature on the Google Toolbar. That's a pretty cool feature.

    The ability to search PDF's seems like it could be useful if it is actually searching inside the PDF. I haven't actually seen another Windows based tool do that, so for me this could make Google Desktop more than the "toy" it is (for me) at the moment (It doesn't do anything a structured file system cannot).

    So good improvements. I can't see what is so controversial about the toolbar though.
    • by Kagami001 (769862)
      I haven't actually seen another Windows based tool do that

      Adobe provides a filter [adobe.com] for the built-in Windows indexing service.
    • searching pdf (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dink Paisy (823325)
      MSN's desktop search tool will search PDF files if you install Adobe's Acrobat IFilter plugin [adobe.com]. I've found it valuable several times.
    • by cyngus (753668)
      A neat little feature of Mac OS X I'd like to point out is spellcheck everywhere, or rather the potential to have it. With Mac OS X text container you can get most of the features of TextEdit (RTF compatible editor) using the built-in frameworks (NSSpellChecker). OmniWeb did (and probably still does) use this for all text input boxes, so boxes like the one I'm using for this had spellcheck-as-you-type, underlining misspelled words in red. Sadly neither Camino or Firefox has adopted this. For the curious
    • The ability to search PDF's seems like it could be useful if it is actually searching inside the PDF. I haven't actually seen another Windows based tool do that[...]

      Copernic http://www.copernic.com/ [copernic.com] is a pretty nice program which can do just that. After GDS came out, I tried it, but one of the abilities which I needed, and which it didn't provide, was the ability to search within PDFs.
      There are other things I don't especially like about Copernic, but all-in-all it's handy, and fast. I'll have to try o
    • "I think most Slashdotters will be pleased (or at least would be, if they used IE) with the new Spellcheck feature on the Google Toolbar. That's a pretty cool feature."

      Searching for: porn: zero matches.
      Did you mean: pr0n?
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:39PM (#11870819)
    How soon before /. becomes a Google-bashing society?

    The rate Google is making strides to take over and redefine people's www interaction is quite alarming. From the original "just another search engine" beginnings, Google have made a lot of inroads. I see Google ads all over the place. I load the Google toolbar into IE to get an easier search and now I have intrusive "nannyware" that watches over my shoulder like Clippy does: "I see you've done xxxx a few times, do you want to create a shortcut?".

    Tinfoil hat time folks.

    • The thing is that in general people tend to hate Microsoft because they have performed ethically deplorable actions that have negatively impacted the computer industry and its users.

      They don't just hate Microsoft because Microsoft is successful, as many of Microsoft's defenders seem to think they do.

      So unless you try to excessively simplify things, there does not seem to be an immediate logical reason that if Google becomes successful, people will begin to hate them too in significant number.

      Google would
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The rate Google is making strides to take over and redefine people's www interaction is quite alarming.

      Yes, Google is "taking over people's www interaction"... BECAUSE THEY VOLUNTARILY DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL IT.

      Over the past month or so, people are whipping themselves up into hysterics with paranoia about Google. Take the toolbar, for instance. Loads of people were saying things like "OH NOES! It's fooling people into thinking I'm linking to something I'm not!" when in actual fact, the user is click

    • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:27PM (#11872025) Journal
      The rate Google is making strides to take over and redefine people's www interaction is quite alarming.

      Take over how?

      Don't install a lot of stuff from Google.com and set your start page to yahoo.com. No more Google "taking over" your browsing experience. When I use phrases like "taking over" in combination of "redefining", I come to think of spyware that forces stuff onto you, but Google force nothing on you, besides the ads on sites that have chosen to use them if you're counting those, which leads me to...

      I see Google ads all over the place.

      We won't magically rid the world of ads besides by using ad blockers, so all we can hope for are ads that aren't annoying. And Google's aren't in my opinion, so why complain? I definitely take Google text ads more than flashing DoubleClick ads with Gonzo buddies.

      I load the Google toolbar into IE to get an easier search and now I have intrusive "nannyware" that watches over my shoulder like Clippy does: "I see you've done xxxx a few times, do you want to create a shortcut?

      Don't install the Google Toolbar. It's not required for any of their services, or in any other way. There are alternative options for whatever you're trying to do, such as installing the Firefox Googlebar extension instead. Again, why complain? Lots of companies make software I don't like for one reason or another -- I still don't make a webpage complaining about these dozens of companies. I just don't use the products I don't prefer. The issue with e.g. Microsoft is that they've worked themselves into the OEM's and employ horrible business tactics in some cases to push their products onto the market. Installing a Googlebar is entirely up to you, and should of course only be done if you like the software. Google probably implemented the "do you want to create a shortcut" thing since their research told it should be convenient for their users. It's not like they force you to google.com when you type in msn.com or anything. It's nothing evil in that sense. What's annoying to you doesn't mean the intent is an evil one, or even that it's annoying to everyone.
  • by Rollsbot (859293) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:39PM (#11870820) Homepage
    I guess I've been using a computer for too long because I have no use for desktop search tools. I learned to make folders and file my files appropriate a long time ago, and as a result, I never have to search for anything.

    Don't get me wrong I installed the first Google Desktop Search, thought it was cool as hell, then never used it again. I just don't have a need.
    • I learned to make folders and file my files appropriate
      Yes, because we use computers so we can work for them rather than them working for us.....

      Seriously, a lot of people these days work with so much data that manual filing would take a significant amount of time and ultimately is never going to happen 100% reliably or with enough fine grained detail. There is obvious value in a tool that can pull information on a given topic from a variety of sources in one quick hit.
    • I learned to make folders and file my files appropriate a long time ago, and as a result, I never have to search for anything.

      But you still have to navigate your tidy folder hierarchies right? The whole point of a desktop searcher is to instantly get to the file you were looking for, skipping most navigation steps.
    • On my work PC, Google Desktop Search allows me to search, find and view what I'm looking for, spanning over 2 gigs of email, 15 gigs of data (word documents, text files, etc..) in a matter of seconds.

      Show me how creating different folders is faster to give me the data that I want/looking for.

      I still create folders (both in email and data) to separate stuff into common denomators, but it would someitme take me 20-30 minutes to find was I was looking for. Now it takes seconds, allowing me to be a lot mor
  • I believe (Score:5, Funny)

    by chachob (746500) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:40PM (#11870828)
    Google Desktop now supports alternative Netscape based browsers like Firefox
    You mean Firefox-based browsers like Netscape, right? (I know, I know)
  • by PxM (855264) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:41PM (#11870853)
    The Google Toolbar [google.com] now has a spell check built it. Now if it only had a feature that would electricute the user everytime he wrote something in 1337.
  • by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:42PM (#11870867) Homepage Journal
    The only reason the Google Toolbar 3 is controversial is because Slashdotters haven't taken the time to look at how it really works. Most think that the Autolink feature creates links that weren't put there by the page's creator (automatically linking an address to Google maps, for instance). In reality, you have to visit a page then click the Autolink button. It's automatic in a semi-automatic gun kind of way. Sure, it's doing a lot of stuff on its own, but it needs you to start telling it to do so before it starts. Not controversial since it's use is optional.
  • by Kagami001 (769862) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:43PM (#11870875)
    "Google Desktop Search can only be used when the account from which it was installed is logged in."

    Yep, that lovely message is still there when I try to use it in my main work account.
    Oh, well. Maybe next time.
  • Security (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MHobbit (830388)
    As long as Google Desktop encrypts the index to AT LEAST 256-bits, I'll be happy.
    • Mod -1 laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:59PM (#11871713) Homepage Journal
      a) The data on your hard disk isn't encrypted so having an index encrypted doesn't buy you any real security.
      b) Even if it was encrypted, the decryption key would have to also be on your computer for Google Desktop to use it anyway so would be fairly easily snarfable by someone who had enough access to get at the index.
      c) Google Desktop runs as an http server on localhost. Anyone with enough access to get to the index could more easily query the Google interface directly for whatever they are interested in.
  • by CdBee (742846) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:47PM (#11870937)
    There's been an informal campaign for mozilla suite support in GDS ever since it was launched

    Last week Copernic 1.5b was released with full support, now Google are producing the same feature. Coincidence? If so tough luck, I already switched from GDS!
  • by jals (667347) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870947)
    People seem to be overlooking the real news contained in this story: a Google product actually out of beta. Surely a first?
  • Lots of problems.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkMantle (784415) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:57PM (#11871058) Homepage
    There are alot of problems this has with Antivirus and firewall programs. See here [google.com] for a list.

    I'm not sure why NOD32's [nod32.com] Internet Monitor affects a DESKTOP search. But I can't use it as long as I'm using my AV program of choice. Does this make sense to anyone? Because I can't figure it out.

    BTW: this has been a known issue for a few months now.
    • I would imagine a properly-designed anti-virus program would detect anomalous activity (say, scanning a lot of files for strings) as something that might be akin to a virus; it probably ignores the built-in Windows find file functionality.

      Think about it: It makes lots of sense to block that, because how many times per day do you have a piece of software that scans almost your entire harddrive for files (outside of search programs and apps built into the OS)?
  • by Niten (201835) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:12PM (#11871209)

    I think it's awesome that Google has provided this tool to us, and I hope that they release a OS X and Linux versions soon. However, I worry that we may see spyware use this search plugin architecture for, say, rapidly locating credit card information or bank statements...

  • GMail? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FuzzzyLogik (592766) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:57PM (#11871696) Homepage
    Why doesn't it also search GMail? That would be a real benefit. Or does it already and i just don't see this listed anywhere?
  • by dantheman82 (765429) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:15PM (#11871911) Homepage
    Why use the Google Desktop search when the new Copernic Desktop Search v1.5 beta has so much more?

    Comparisons:
    1) Searching text files (.java, .php, .c, .h, .) is simple with Copernic Desktop Search (even v1.2) while it is a downloadable add-on in Google.
    2) Music/Video/Images are both searchable and *viewable/watchable/hearable* from within CDS while it was just added in a limited capacity in GDS.
    3) Thunderbird and Eudora both searchable in CDS and Thunderbird just added in GDS.
    4) Smart indexing of *network drives* in CDS 1.5 beta is totally awesome. It is amazing to see what you have instant access to on your corporate network in terms of internally searchable code files and business docs.
    5) CDS 1.5 beta searches iTunes, QuickTime and OGG information (artist, album, etc) while GDS is likely more limited.
    6) CDS 1.5 has targeted search (search email first, or files first, etc.) while GDS has been known to choose it's own path.
    7) The GDS killer IMHO - preview of every major filetype is within the actual CDS search...like DOC, XLS, PPT, HTM, Email, code files and also highlighting search terms in different colors showing their context.

    Prove me wrong after you download it and try it [copernic.com] (for free of course).
  • I never tried it before- figured I probably didn't need it.

    I was wrong! It's so fast. Get it, you'll never use windows search again.

  • Timothy forgot about all of the slashdot readers who don't use windows. This is Windows-only. The donwload site does tell you in very small print.
  • It is one thing to not be able to do a substring search on the file contents, but not even partial matches for the filename? Google Desktop is nowhere near as good a search tool as Yahoo Desktop. I have tried Google, Copernic and Yahoo Desktops and Yahoo has the best by far. Google is kinda nice because it runs in your browser, but it has such limited features compared with the others. I can't search using wildcards and substrings, so it is not a suitable replacement for the built in search in windows,

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