I have been beta testing the Google Desktop Search feature for a few weeks now. Since it has finally gone live I can talk about it a bit and share my particular insights and opinions of it.

First off, I have to say that I’ve been waiting for this for some time. I have the unique privledge (or obligation) to be inside the tech industry and have access to some of the folks who invent cool stuff. For a few years I’ve been asking Microsoft about the ability to search deeper into the PC based on keywords, much like internet search engines do. Come talk to us when Longhorn is ready, they’d say. Well, Google has *almost* made me stop waiting for that day. Sometimes knowing people on the inside is good, and in this case I had some time to play with the Google Desktop Search prior to it becoming public.

First off, it searches Outlook email, most Office files, some IM chats, some media files, and of course local web page histories. It has a locally run crawler that indexes these files whenever there is idle time on the PC, which is most of the time unless you are playing games. There is a nifty status page that tells you what it has indexed and when, so you know if that confidential email you just read is in the cache or not. Best of all, it responds fast and in most times ranks things by relevance, which is good.

Where things go a bit off course for me are the following areas:

  • No ability to search for files by creation date or range
  • No ability to search by folder name
  • No searching across network drives, even if they are mapped to drive letters
  • No image searching based on EXIF data (or any other data)
  • No support for Trillian, Yahoo, or MSN chat text
  • No option to open attachments on Outlook email messages

I’ll always find something to complain about, but this is a good start. Sure, I have to bounce back and forth between a standard Explorer file search and Desktop Search, but I find myself using Desktop Search more often now. I’m sure Google will continue to make this search better, and I’m sure I’ll keep finding more stuff for them to do. I just wonder how they will pay for it in the long run.

And to Microsoft I say the gauntlet has been thrown down. This is the bar you have to jump over and from an ease of use and performance standpoint, its a very high bar. A standard, Microsoft version 1.0 product won’t do in this case, you’re going to have to come up with something much better. I am betting this will be one of the more interesting product comparisons for the coming years, and it has the power to define who truly is in control of my desktop interface.

After a bit of a travel streak out promoting some new products for the company, I am back in town for a few days. Looks like there is more travel on the horizon, however, thanks to a large amount of folks who just haven’t seen the technology or heard the pitch. Bummer for me.

I hope to be able to get at least a little laundry done and do those important but mundane things like pay a few irregular bills, get the car tag renewed, get smogged, buy groceries, etc. If not I think I’ll have a wave of notices stuck to my door in the coming weeks.

I’m spending this week in NYC on yet another press tour stint. Again I’m with the group I went with last week and I’m no better off this time than I was last time. In fact, I’m a bit worse, thanks to sharing a room with one of them.

I also happen to be at the tale end of the same cold that I picked up in Dallas two weeks ago. It may end up that my cold is the only thing that gets me so peace, since no one wants to be around people who cough and sneeze.

It’s a good bet that this week will be painful and it hasn’t even started yet.

I just got back from Dallas after a week long press tour, random travel, and way too much time hauling PCs in and out of vehicles and boxes with people that are slightly annoying. I get to spend one whole day here at home before heading back out on the road to NYC for another round of press previews.

Here’s to hoping that things stabilize next week and I get some more sleep while on the road. I’m about to konk out just sitting here.

Today I head off to Sonoma for another friend’s wedding. Thankfully I will be in the same time zone and climate as I am used to. Unthankfully, I will be on an airplane and on the road again in just under 48 hours.

I imagine that this wedding will be very different from the one just attended in Dallas. For one, I’m being placed at a table deliberately with single women, all friends of the bride. It remains to be seen what I will do with this opportunity. It should be an interesting experience nonetheless.

For now I plan on sitting back and taking it all in, and I’ll try to leave the typical self-analysis to a post event think session, long after everyone is gone.