Desktop Search has become all the rage these days, and for a good reason. After people discovered that they can seemingly search the Web faster and more efficiently than the contents of their own PC's, the search companies decided to use some of their search technologies to help users find stuff in their own backyard, i.e. files stored on their own hard drives.
For years the only choice for Windows users to search their local files has been the standard Microsoft Search program which comes bundled with Windows. It does the job,
But it's minimalist, clunky, and painfully slow. Microsoft tried to address the speed issue by marrying the search program with the Index Server (a service that indexes the local files), but while this has boosted the performance of search it is still woefully lacking in utility, features, and robustness.
There has been a need for a better search software for quite a while. Enter the big three search outfits, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN with their own search programs, known as Desktop Search.
Not too long ago I installed Google's Desktop Search and I was initially happy with its performance and flexibility. But Google's program is limited in the file types it could index and the interface is, well, Googlish, as in plain and simple and no frills. Perhaps Google's strength in its Web search simplicity was just too bland for me when it came to searching locally. I soon lost interest and forgot about desktop search, until today when I downloaded the Yahoo's incarnation of the desktop search program, and my reaction so far is, wow!
Available in beta version, this program does an impressive job of indexing the local files as well as Outlook messages. It has the intelligence to recognize over 200 different file formats and it can index everything in its path. The interface looks fresh, functional, and fast. In little time I had it configured to index my entire hard drive and after it was done with its initial scan, I tested it with a number of keywords. Who knew searching could be so much fun? It's blazing fast and the results are presented in a nice format. I am sold. Yahoo's Desktop Search has now replaced Google's program in my program tray and I feel absolutely empowered having such a tool at my beck and call.