Thursday, April 13, 2006

Searching the Desktop

A key tool in a paperless world is the Desktop Search. Indeed, one of the reasons I am increasingly paperless is because desktop search engines are a great way of finding my information. Just imagine if you find any paper file simply by telling the filing cabinet what you are looking for. At their best, desktop search engines do just that.

Desktop search engines seem to be rapidly evolving. Leading contenders include:

Google's Desktop Search

Yahoo Desktop Search

Copernic Desktop Search

MSN Desktop Search

X1 Desktop Search


The following is a post from Lifehacker providing their rundown on these options (except X1 and BlinkX):

Seek and Ye Shall Find: Desktop search showdown - Lifehacker

CNet has a review here.

I myself have tried Google, Copernic, Blinkx and MSN. For some reason, Google became a memory hog on my two computers. I have temporarily removed it. MSN Desktop Search has been undergoing some great transformations lately. I have it on my desktop at home, but rarely use it.

BlinkX is mostly known for its video search, but it has some creative features for desktop search. One feature is a tool bar that sits in Word (or many other programs) and is constantly keeping track of possible items on your computer or on the web that might be relevant to your current document. Another cool feature is the ability to create Smart Folders. I created a Smart Folder called "Africa International Law" that automatically found items on my computer relevant to those terms as well as updated news and website information. Unfortunately, I found BlinkX to be a bit of a drain on my resources (512 MB RAM is all I have), especially since I tend to have four or five major applications running at any given time. UPDATE: Their own website doesn't seem to carry desktop search anymore, though I have a strong feeling they are merely in a new phase of development. Try here and here for information about downloading an internet-only version.

Currently, Copernic is my top choice for desktop search. I like the way search results are presented and I even like the web search features it provides (though I mostly still use google for the web).

Categories: Getting Organized


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