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Yahoo! Releases Desktop Search Tool 304

Hobadee writes "According to The Register, Yahoo! has released a desktop search program to compete with Google's. Apparently Yahoo's version is native to Windows, and thus faster than Google's, but less portable. Other question - what does this mean for things like the Google Search Appliance? Personally, I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'...."
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Yahoo! Releases Desktop Search Tool

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  • Well (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:16PM (#11067983) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'....

    I'm still digging slocate.

    • Re:Well (Score:3, Informative)

      I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'...."

      That does not search the contents of files. Nor does locate.

  • not true (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr_tommy ( 619972 ) * <.tgraham. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:17PM (#11067990) Journal
    To be clear, Yahoo haven't actually released anything yet; they've licensed the tech from another company (pretty poor show) and will be slapping some branding on it with a launch planned for 2005.
    • Re:not true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:22PM (#11068025) Homepage
      If I ever got mod-points, I'd mod this one up. Wow, I RTFA and didn't pick up on that, and apparently the article poster didn't either.

      Although to give the poster some credit, that website 'The Register' is not the best written of websites.
      • I RTFA and didn't pick up on that

        It's right there in the first line: "Yahoo! has licensed the X1 search software for Windows from tech incubator Idealab..."
    • Re:not true (Score:3, Interesting)

      by br0ck ( 237309 )
      I'm on the X1 beta test team and the latest builds are amazing. I can search through 600,000 items as fast as I type. I have it indexing all email, my local drives, and all directories on content and web servers that I care about. Doing phone support or debugging and being able to quickly recall every email, document or piece of code pertaining to an issue has been an awesome productivity boost. /two cents
      • Does it update as files or e-mails are removed? This is an issue that I have with the current Google tool, and one that may well get all of the newer desktop search tools banned from my employer's network.
        • Interesting question about dealing with updated/deleted email, but I'd like to extend it to consider other features beyond email, such as identifying duplicate personal files (and email), identical files with different names, and maybe even identically named files with different content. (The last is mostly for digitical camera pictures, though I'm not sure what to do about resolving it conveniently, apart from my current use of seperate directories.)

          Therefore, may I extend the question to ask if anyone h

    • At least they are recognizing someone else out there has more expertise than they do in this area. Its a win-win...Yahoo gets a competent codebase, and a small software firm gets a huge infusion of cash.
  • cant seem to get ahead can u... :(
  • i wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    i wonder what wonderful 'features' it has that run in the background.
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#11068009) Homepage
    It doesn't, as yet, index your browser history, but as Google has discovered with GDS, this can be a double-edged sword.

    Now they can market it as the Desktop Search Tool of the privacy-concious, and call a lack of a feature a good safe feature. I know this horse has been flogged to death on the other threads concerning Google Desktop Search, but puhleese.

    It is blindingly fast at both indexing and retrieval - which is near instant - and has the huge advantage over Google Desktop Search of being a native Windows client.

    Don't know what to say - if it does serve 97 percent of the computer market more effectively, then perhaps they will dominate the system. It'll be interesting to see if this turns into a battle of paradigms: programs native to an OS (i.e. Yahoo!) or browser based (Google).
    • Of course, the killer feature of GDS for me, is that the results get integrated with your regular google results. So I have one place I go to search everything I need.

      If Yahoo's offering won't do that it's pretty much worthless to me, no matter how fast the gui is.

  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#11068010) Homepage
    Personally, I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'...

    Which helps you find the e-mail from Aunt Mary where she told you the location of her will... how?

    grepping a file list does nothing for searching the contents of your files... which both of these products do.
  • I search for a file every few months since my files are categorized, and I easily find them by browsing. What exactly is wrong with the current desktop search tools like the one found in Windows Explorer that makes these companies create alternatives?
    • The Windoze search tools are sloooooooow and don't work very well, but most of all, common users simply don't know how to use it.
    • I don't know about you, but the windows search on my machines is extremely slow. I really only use it as a last resort and I make sure to specify a directory. While the google one is so fast that sometimes I just use it instead of navigating the directory tree.
    • The fact that most people are disorginized slobs who don't put their toys away, I guess.

      On another forum I recently ran across a guy who was wondering what to do when you "run out of space" on your start menu.

      I suggested that he keep his socks, WD40, silverware and ratchet set in different drawers.

  • by theguywhosaid ( 751709 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:23PM (#11068029) Homepage
    "find / | grep junk" and "updatedb; locate junk" both have one problem in common. they do not check the content of the file. try "grep junk `find /`". and really people, who wants to wait for that to finish?
    • So what's wrong with "find / -exec grep junk {} \; -print"? Other than the speed, of course...
      • The whole point with these search engines is the speed.

        Are we getting a bit off topic here?
        • Are we getting a bit off topic here?

          Yes - I was querying his piping the output of find to grep when you can just get find to execute grep for you. I completely agree that running grep over your entire hard drive is never gong to match a proper search app for speed...
      • The speed, the presentation, and the (missing) ranking by relevance.
    • Glimpse and WebGlimpse have been around for ages.
      Obviously their strength is text, but glimpse supports passing files through arbitrary filters which can output text it can use for indexing.
      pdftotext for example, although one imagines extracting meaning from an mp3 would also be feasible.
      Both are fairly fast and have been around for ages.
    • That's what "xargs" is for:
      $ find . -type f -print | xargs grep foo
      You can also search on both, or do more complicated things:
      $ find . -type f -print | xargs grep -l foo | xargs grep bar
      You may want the "-0" flag if you have file names containing spaces (this should be cleaned up some time, but it's nearly 30 year old tradition):
      $ find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 grep -l foo | xargs grep bar
    • Which brings up an interesting point. If these searching programs have a different algorithm for finding text/content in files, then isnt find/grep/locate doing something wrong? And/or is the filesystem not organised as efficiently as possible?

      Just a thought...
    • Yeah. I much prefer 'find / -exec cat {} >> /allmyfiles'. Then you can just grep that to see if what you're looking for is in any of your files. I haven't figured out how to get the filename back from it though, and also, the more and bigger files you have, the bigger the index gets for some strange reason. I haven't figured out those issues yet. I'm also being completely facetious, so shame on you if you've read this far in earnest.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:24PM (#11068034) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'...."

    Apples and oranges.

    Google Desktop Search (and presumably Yahoo DS) also searches inside the actual files. If I search for "VPN", I see a list of all files (and Outlook messages) which contain the string "VPN".

    'find / |grep' doesn't do any of that.... even "find / -exec grep foo {} \;" is much slower then an indexed database engine.

    I haven't installed it (Not sure I trust it), but a coworker was showing it to me yesterday. Pretty handy...
    • find / |grep' doesn't do any of that.... even "find / -exec grep foo {} \;" is much slower then an indexed database engine

      Forget about the "-exec" flag; it is almost always the wrong thing to use, and it's dreadfully slow.

      "locate ... | xargs grep ..." or "find ... | xargs grep ..." is quite fast. Not as fast as something that's indexed, but it's fast enough and always up-to-date.

      That's probably the main reason people on UNIX just haven't bothered. But there are text indexing systems that you can use a
  • by David Hume ( 200499 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:26PM (#11068047) Homepage

    X1 Website [x1.com]

    15 Day Trial Version [x1.com]

  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:26PM (#11068050) Homepage Journal
    See? This is a large part of why linux isn't mainstream yet. You have far too many luddites who have far too much influence and want to pretend it's still 1979.

    and stuff.
    • Click where? What window opens? And I have to type what where? Stop being a troll.
    • by miu ( 626917 )
      Well the problem is an attitude that shuts out the possibility of there being a problem for which locatedb or any other simple solution is not good enough or easy enough. The strength of UNIX is often that it encourages you to actually think about the problem and break it into easy to solve pieces as well as giving you the simple tools (and primitives to build new tools easily) to do pretty much anything with the your data.

      So sure there is a problem with linux fanboys dismissing anything outside their wo

        • But even the attitudes themselves are valuable when not taken to an unhealthy extreme.

          Take the example of local search - the linux fanboy thinks that just because he can find 'some-damn-anime.avi' in an index file that he has solved the problem, the windows 'solve everything' attitude makes the mistake of wrapping the whole thing up in a single program - capturing code and data in a mess that will only be useful in the circumstance for which it is designed. Between those two attitudes is one where we try

  • Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vicsun ( 812730 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:26PM (#11068051)
    This is great news. I love gMail and consequently all other things google, but Google Desktop Search has been a disaster. I originally posted this in google groups, but I feel I need to post it here as well.

    I won't even start complaining about google only supporting programs I don't use (AIM? IE? Outlook?), as it's still in beta and I represent a minority group anyway.
    However I have several other problems...
    1. When a a folder has the same name as my search term, google search will display *all* files within that folder. For example if I search for 'doom 3' it won't just list the files called 'doom 3' it will list *all* the files in the doom 3 folder. It would be much more useful if it would only display the folder once as a separate search result, and then only display files called 'doom 3'

    2. Inability to only search for filenames *only* - sometimes, or actually most of the time, I want to find a specific file. I know I have created important.doc but when I search for 'important' I get a plethora of results featuring different documents / text files which have the word 'important' within them. Windows' search has done this nicely by giving me the ability to search for a 'all or a part of the filename' and for 'a word or a phrase within the file'. I also have the option to 'look in' which brings me to my next point

    3. Inability to search within a folder - because sometimes it is extremely useful to look for *.mp3 in my very disorganized 'thereShouldBeNoMusicHere' folder. Or to look for anything at all in a drive different than C...

    4. Wildcard searches - oftentimes I just can't remember how I've saved the file. Was my presentation called group4project.ppt or group4.ppt or G4.ppt? A simple search of *4*.ppt should find the file, where * is a wildcard. Currently I can't do that.

    5. Un-indexing of files - I just moved 500 files from my desktop to my documents. GDS has re-indexed them in My Documents. When I search for file.txt I get two results only one of which is valid. Of course, I can manually remove the invalid result from the index, but I really don't want to do it 500 times. Even if I can somehow magically get all the duplicate files on the same search, I can only remove them 10 at a time.

    Until google resolves those issues (and I certainly hope they do), the search integrated into Windows is more useful. I hope yahoo have made a better job than google on this one, I'm off to try it :)
    • No no no, it's GMail. Even Apple would agree, gMail looks pants.
    • Re:Yes! (Score:3, Informative)

      by damiam ( 409504 )
      I'm not gonna claim that GDS is perfect, but you're not using it for its intended purpose. If you search for "important project" you should get all documents related to said project, including those in a folder with that name. As for your complaints 2,3, and 4, all of those can be done easily with standard Windows search tools. If what you want to search a filesystem for a filename, GDS isn't for you. GDS is designed to search the content of documents and return those relevent to your query.
      • your absolutely right,

        I use google desktop search for emails in outlook for work.. it finds days olds emails and sorts em by thread in seconds while outlook takes minutes.. even better i can click reply to all in google search response and it spawns an outlook email with all the contents required.. its a huge time saver and i'll never use the shitty outlook search feature ever again!

        thanks google!! keep on rocking!
    • Re:Yes! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jahz ( 831343 )
      Vicsun, you make all good points, but why are you ranting here?

      Im not huge fan of GDS, but your complaining about a free Beta product. Go drop Google and email and maybe some of that stuff will get fixed.

      Also try to remember Google's target audience for GDS is not the /. ers. Sure, it *could* be with a few major changes, but that's for Google to decide. If they wanted nerds, they would have released a linux version, or at least OSX.

      I tried GDS out on my Winxp pc a few weeks ago and thought it was
  • Native to Windows? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oniony ( 228405 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:28PM (#11068057)
    Yahoo's is native to Windows and Google's isn't? Eh? Eh? Google's is native too, it runs as a Windows process, indexing files and running searches.

    If they mean the user interface is a Windows app rather than a web client then, yes, but who cares? That's not that bit that's doing the work, that's just rendering some results. It may mean Yahoo will be able to take advantage of some more advanced controls, such as listviews, but Google has already proven with Gmail that it is able to kick out a pretty convining web application so I wouldn't cite that as an advantage.
    • I wondered about this too. Perhaps GDS uses some part of the kernel of the mighty web search. If so, that is code written, and probably ridiculously optimized, to run on Linux. Perhaps Google intends to make DS for Linux and Mac as well? Or perhaps the author was only talking about the UI.
  • by eMartin ( 210973 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:36PM (#11068104)
    I just want a fast filename search for Windows.

    I don't care about content, since most of the files I work with don't have searchable content in the first place, and I give them useful filenames anyway. I just forget where they're saved sometimes, or want a quicker way to get to them.

    Even with indexing turned on (does that help with filename searches?), Windows takes 2 or 3 minutes to search all my drives by filename only.

    I know there's Ava Find [think-less-do-more.com], which is very fast and does what I want, but the UI sucks, and AppRocket [candylabs.com], which is also fast but isn't really a search tool as much as a launcher.

    So, are there any others that work like the Windows Explorer search, but faster?

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:02PM (#11068240) Journal
      I don't know about XP, but in Windows 2000 the indexing service doesn't integrate with the standard find command in explorer, you have to run it from MMC. You may also have to disable the service (I can't remember it's name) which restarts services it thinks are using too much memory. I had a problem with 2K where the indexing service would start running (consuming a lot of CPU), get to about 50MB of memory usage and then be restarted by this service (at which point it would start indexing again). Failing that, I believe that locate works well in cygwin.
    • Agent Ransack [mythicsoft.com] is a free program that spanks the XP search tool, and has the functionality you want. I don't use windows anymore, but when I did, this is what I used. It also has the ability to integrate into the shell a little so it's conveniently accessible, e.g. from the "Search" start menu item.

      I think that may be what you desire for a Windows search tool.

      • I was about to post a blurb on Agent Ransack before I came across this post. Agent Ransack is awesome and very quick. I haven't tried Yahoo's tool yet, but Agent Ransack has set my expectations high.
    • damn, it's so simple on windows it's funny so much fuss is being made about this now:
      1. start the indexing service, wait for it to index your drives.
      2. search (Win-F), and prefix your search string with "!"
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:41PM (#11068130) Homepage
    Since nowadays everyone and their dog are releasing desktop search engines, here's the thing that can give a commercial/technological advantage - implement plugin mechanism for searching other file types. I'd kill to be able to search my Thunderbird mail archives, yet neither Copernic, nor Google will do this, because they only understand MS email clients. Same applies to my digital camera files. I always make sure I attach IPTC metadata to them to desicribe roughly where and when the picture was taken, and what's on the picture. Current desktop search engines simply ignore this.
    • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:11PM (#11068294) Journal

      Since nowadays everyone and their dog are releasing desktop search engines, here's the thing that can give a commercial/technological advantage - implement plugin mechanism for searching other file types.

      Next version of OS X [apple.com], probably coming Q1 2005. Metadata will be integrated into the file system, and authors will be able to describe their own metadata to the OS.


      • Metadata will be integrated into the file system, and authors will be able to describe their own metadata to the OS.

        File types that benefit from metadata already have space for it (Word, OOo, PDF, MP3, TIFF, JPEG, etc.). But most people just don't bother putting anything there.

        Adding metadata to the file system just causes gratuitous incompatibilities; there is no real benefit. Be tried it, Microsoft tried it, and Apple is trying it as well. In fact, this idea goes way, way back. In part, UNIX was in
        • Adding metadata to the file system just causes gratuitous incompatibilities; there is no real benefit. Be tried it, Microsoft tried it, and Apple is trying it as well. In fact, this idea goes way, way back. In part, UNIX was intended to clean up this kind of mess.

          LOL. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You're funny, though.

  • Personally Leet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddha42 ( 539539 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:43PM (#11068141)
    Y'ever notice how whenever a person ends a newsgroup/forum/bullettinboard post with "Personally I..." it is always some kind of "look how amazingly fucking leet I am for using this hardcore way of doing things" type bullshit?

    Personally I think its retarded.

  • Copernic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:43PM (#11068145) Homepage
    Copernic [copernic.com] already does everything this does, for free. It also searches web history, and supports Firefox.
  • by Goonie ( 8651 ) <robert.merkel@noSpaM.benambra.org> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:09PM (#11068280) Homepage
    It wouldn't be hard to build a Linux tool to do this. There are indexing algorithms in the literature - heck, one of my undergraduate lecturers wrote the book [amazon.com] on this stuff. You'd have a niced daemon or a cronjob that goes looking for new files (in specified directories - one great thing about Linux systems is the file system tends to be a lot more organised than Windows, where stuff gets put everywhere). You'd have a plugin system to extract plain text from the various file formats. You could then have multiple frontends - console, GNOME, KDE, and so on - in the GNOME case you'd probably integrate it with nautilus.

    One thing you'd have to think carefully about is privacy and security; how do you stop a user finding stuff out about files they're not entitled to read?

    I'd start it myself except that I have a thesis to do :)

    • Actually, there are already several open source text indexing engines. Lucene [apache.org] is pretty popular. Putting a user interface and a plug-in architecture around it is not so difficult. The main problem with it is that it's written in Java, but it can be compiled with gcj and the UI could be written in SWT.
    • One thing you'd have to think carefully about is privacy and security; how do you stop a user finding stuff out about files they're not entitled to read?

      Perhaps it would simply work to store information about each file in a database with the same permissions as the file has. Then if the search runs with the user's permissions, which is probably a good idea, it could only read the index for files that the user could read anyway. In case the file permissions change between index runs, you could throw in a c
    • I talked about this with a friend a while ago.

      It'd be fairly trivial (a couple afternoon's worth of work for a skilled and experienced scripter) to make something which works better than the combination of the unix file tools (slocate, find, file, grep, etc.). In essence, you'd use those tools in conjunction with perl and a mysql database. You could either have a series of scripts do direct db manipulation, or you could have a daemon which transverses the db communications for the per-user script.

      It could
    • As well as the projects people have mentioned, there is beagle [gnome.org] for GNOME. They seem to be using a slightly different approach than the one I've outlined: they patch the kernel to notify the system when files are modified.
  • Stupid news poster (Score:3, Interesting)

    by northcat ( 827059 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:12PM (#11068298) Journal
    Apparently Yahoo's version is native to Windows, and thus faster than Google's, but less portable.

    No. The article doesn't say that. Read it again. The news poster twisted the words to make google look good. For once why can't people just agree that someone has done something better than google?

    For the morons among us who don't understand what I am saying: the /. summary says that yahoo is faster because its a native application, but the article says that yahoo is faster and its a native application offering more benifits, not because. Do the deduction yoursel. (BTW, I refuse to believe that someone can be stupid enough to do this out of mistake.)
  • by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:54PM (#11068555)
    Personally, I still like 'find / > index' in a cron script, then just grep 'index'...."

    Try "man locate" and "man updatedb"; that's been around forever. It probably already gets updated nightly on your computer (that's why your disk starts making all that noise early in the morning).

    If you want to search for content, you can combine it with grep and xargs:
    $ locate .tex | xargs fgrep something
    $ locate .tex | xargs agrep foobar
    $ locate foo | grep -v bar | xargs grep something
    More complicated pipes involve "file", "perl", "awk", etc.
    • And the bonus that some (many? most?) unicies actually use 'slocate', i.e. secure-locate, so Bob won't see Sam's porn when he issues 'locate paris'

      my problem with locate is that if I try to combine it with 'rm' to delete tons of files, like 'rm `locate .txt`', I get 'argument list too long.' Any way around that? (Yes, I'm too lazy to google for and test solutions. just thought I'd ask since I'm here.)
  • This X1 stuff looks cool, but a bit expensive. I've been using a free Windows search tool, based on locate/updatedb with a nice GUI. Not perfect, and you can't search inside files, but still useful. You can check it out here [www.uku.fi].

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain