Google Desktop

Google Desktop is a discontinued computer program with desktop search capabilities created for Microsoft Windows environment. It was launched in 2004 and discontinued in 2011. According to Google, they witnessed some big changes in how users store and access their own data.

Of course, they launched multiple web-based application and they wanted their user base to move to those apps. However, even with the multiple cloud apps, users do not feel comfortable in storing all their data, documents, files and emails in the cloud especially with Google.

There will always be a need for users who want to keep their data private and that’s where a traditional desktop search comes in. It will allow users to search theirs own PCs for emails, files, music, photos, movies and much more.

When it comes to Desktop Search, there is only a few alternatives that are still being updated. The two that comes to my head are Copernic Desktop Search and X1 Search.

Desktop Search for Mac

Most of the good Desktop Search for PC are not available on Mac OS X! Why? I ran the question to the main players and they all responded, not for now….

The Mac user base is increasing but there are still very limited desktop search solutions. I did some research and the most popular one was Launchy. However, it is not by definiation a desktop search. They consider themselves as a keystroke launcher where you can launch your documents, project files, folders and bookmarks using predefined keystrokes. Since it indexes the file names, you can type a keyword and it will give you all the documents that have that keyword inside the file name.

However, it does not index the content which is a major drawback. What is the point of having a search engine installed if you can’t search inside documents?

Another alternative is Alfred but again it is a quick launch application for Mac OS X. A nice feature for Alfred is that it learns from the apps you use most and priorities them when you search. Again, it only makes you increase your productivity instead of just searching inside your files.

When are we going to see a major player such as Copernic or X1 move to OSX. Your guess is as good as mine.

Desktop Search Trend

Last week, I was talking with some colleagues about how they organize their files & emails to be the most effective. Everybody had their small tricks to stay organized on their PC. However, like most of us, our company architecture would like us to have all our documents on network drives in case “something” happens.

Before having a centralized environment, we could stay organized in our little environments. Now, we need to follow a corporate structures and our document architecture is influenced by many users.

It is a lot more harder to keep an organized document structure with so many users acting on those files saved on network drives.

There is two alternatives:

  1. Use a small desktop search which allows you to search network drives which cost around 50$ per license if we look at the various alternatives in the market such as Copernic Desktop Search or X1. There are a few free alternatives but most of them you can’t use in a commercial environment.
  2. Use an enterprise search engines which needs to be purchased by the IT department which means a very long implementation.

What alternative is used in your organization?

Review #2: Copernic Desktop Search

Copernic Desktop Search Review
Copernic Desktop Search Review

Copernic  has been in the Desktop Search business for a long time. It is decline in two editions: the Lite (free version) and the Full version. With version 4, the free version has lost a few features that I liked for my home use such as: I can no longer search my external hard drive and it is now limited to only 75,000 files. My music collection is no longer searchable :(. Also, the ability to search Microsoft Outlook is no longer available in this free version but I do not use Outlook at home. I can see why they removed that feature which is more business oriented.

As for the interface, both versions have the same with a few minor differences but it does not impact the general use of the product. Version 4 brought a new interface which fits the new flat-design trend which is ok with me. Compared to Windows Search, it is a nice interface to search with the preview pane and the added refine fields.

Compared to X1, we do not really know where Copernic is going. It seems they are keeping their focus on the home user and small offices but it would be nice to see something new from them.

Also, Copernic does the job for me but the price point of 50$ for a desktop search is quite expensive for me. A price point around 20-25$ would fit my budget.

Review #1: X1 Search 8

X1 Desktop has been in the Desktop Search market for many years but it focuses more on the big enterprises with the integration for Citrix environments. With X1 taking the Virtual Edition route, it leaves the typical Desktop Search product to become a server search engine.

X1 offers the same interface as before with the ability to use filters on search results (it clutters the interface a little bit), a real-time indexing and the ability to preview your documents without opening the native application.

With version 8, X1 has removed some capability we saw in the past such as social media but added new features such as an integration with Sharepoint. However, the integration is not complete as X1 queries the Sharepoint search engine and returns the results into X1 interface.

Is X1 Search 8 moving into the right direction where most enterprise moving into the cloud also? Only time will tell us!

You can give it a try for 14 days.

Let me know what you think

What is a Desktop Search?

A Desktop Search is a small computer software that you can install on your PC (locally usually). It allows you to search your files, emails and a wide variety of files depending on the software.

Wikipedia defines a desktop search as follows: Desktop search tools search within a user’s own computer files as opposed to searching the Internet. These tools are designed to find information on the user’s PC, including web browser history, e-mail archives, text documents, sound files, images, and video.