Recent reports have it that Google is working on a desktop search engine powered by the same algorithms that Google uses to search and rank websites. This tool could replace Windows’ own built-in, highly ineffective search feature.
It’s about time.
How absurd is it that it’s often easier to find information on the World Wide Web than on your own computer? It’s easier to find exactly what you want among the thousands of terabytes on the Internet with one or two keywords than it is to find a Word document, saved on your own 120 gig computer, that you wrote only a month ago. Or that email you sent last fall. Or that videoclip you downloaded yesterday.
Google is so effective that many people no longer bookmark websites. Instead they simply use Google to find the sites again. As for me, I am awash in data, not just on the web, but on my own computer, and I’m willing to try anything to help me easily sort through it all. How great it would be if I could find my own files in “My Documents” as easily as I search online (say, for that South Korean pair of new media artists I had heard about), using one or two keywords in the Google Deskbar. And then to have the search execute as swiftly as a Google web search. No more browsing through nested folders, no more using Windows’ clumsy search sidebar.
The best desktop search engine will be the one to anticipate connections you haven’t made yet, between keywords and documents, and between documents and other documents. To know what’s on your computer better than you do. To know what you’re searching for, even when you only vaguely recall the substance of any document.