I just spent a few hours playing with Google Desktop (the product formerly known as Fluffy Bunny), and it is a beautiful thing. There was instant gratification using the tool a minute after I installed it, and as it indexes more, it becomes more useful. How did I ever live without it? Can I even call that living?
Google has shown me I can have it all: fast, ranked search with a simple UI and a rich query language. Is it too much to ask for being able to have that kind of search for my personal data the way I can already search the public web?Apparently, it's not too much; Google has once again put a smile on my face and instantly made me more a productive version of myself. They have raised the bar, with a very difficult act to follow for Microsoft, Ask, X1, and all the desktop search tools Michael Wexler mentions; my only wish is that my Linux and Mac machines could have Fluffy Bunnies, too!
Rael Dornfest describes it well:
The Google Desktop is your own private little Google server. It sits in the background, slogging through your files and folders, indexing your incoming and outgoing email messages, listening in on your instant messenger chats, and browsing the Web right along with you... In evaluating the Google Desktop as an interface to finding needles in my personal haystack, one thing sticks in my mind: I stumbled across an old email message I was sure I'd lost.Danny Sullivan has a great metaphor: "Google Desktop Search makes it easy to painlessly preserve your own archive of what you've seen and for free. It becomes, as Gary Price wished for last week, a TiVO for the web."
This provides Google a major new platform to build upon -- a client application that integrates with the web. Can I imagine upgrades to that app that include spiffy new features like -- oh -- a lightweight word processor so you can take notes on your searching, or a calendar? Better yet, can I imagine Google opens this platform up to third party developers, to do what they do best? Yes, I sure can.I would love to develop on this platform. Google Superwoman Marissa Mayer revealed several nice tidbits in John Battelle's interview, including:
The technical details of this product are stunning. It only uses of 8 megs of RAM to run. It's a 400 Kbyte file!Now please excuse me while I go play with the tool some more. Fluffy Bunny Fisher, I salute you. Marissa Mayer, I salute you. Steve Lawrence, I salute you. I need to buy a gun so I can do a 21-gun salute... time to do a web search. Hmmm. Apparently searching for a warm gun doesn't actually find me a gun, but it sure does find a lot of happiness...
...The distinction between the hard drive and the net is becoming blurred. We want this application to be a sort of photographic memory for your screen...
The default rank is by date. (When we tested, we learned that) people understood the context of "when they did see this"? The results list the last time you accessed any particular document. However you can also sort by relevance. The desktop relevance scheme lacks Pagerank (of course), but it does incorporate the other 150 factors (Google uses on the web) - factors like are the (keywords) together, in bold, related, things like that.