June 30, 2005 9:03 AM PDT

Microsoft opens desktop search

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Microsoft ups ante in desktop search

May 16, 2005
Enlisting developers to help combat Google's search dominance, Microsoft has quietly released documentation to extend its desktop search tool beyond the browser.

Microsoft has published application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow programmers to display the results of a desktop search in their choice of programs.

The APIs, which were released earlier this week, are still in beta testing.

Microsoft's MSN division released Windows Desktop Search in May, a few months after Google launched its own, called Google Desktop. Windows Desktop Search already has a few features for customizing searches, such as the ability to speed up search results by creating indexes.

Google, too, has its own API and software developer kit that lets people link Google Desktop to different applications.

Microsoft scaled back some of its ambitions for search in Longhorn, the next desktop edition of Windows due out next year. But the company still intends to substantially improve the search capabilities of Windows. For example, search results in Longhorn can be saved as virtual folders that are automatically updated to include all items that fit a particular query.

Once these search capabilities are baked into Longhorn, Microsoft is expected to make APIs available to developers to build customized searches.

Apple Computer, meanwhile, already has an API available to allow developers to write plug-ins for the Spotlight search feature in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

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Speed
All is swell if the search is more relevant BUT what about speed? I know I had to write my own implementation of the unix slocate utility for windows since windows searches are SLOOOOOOOOW. Of course slocate is slow too when it updates it's database but hey you only do that once a day preferably when doing something else for 3-4 minutes. And after that instant search results. (for filenames). Now an slocate like database implementation (for it's speed) with relevance would be the holy grail. I'm confident that microsoft will NOT find the solution. I'd place my bet on Google or Apple.
Posted by (92 comments )
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In 2009 there are now so many Desktop search tools, which makes the decision even harder. From all the tools I tried, lookeen was the best, allowing me to quickly index and search my files. But I guess it is a decision everyone has to make for him- or herself, all I can do is tell you about my experiences with lookeen or recommend the site where you can download a 14-days-free-trial ;) www.lookeen.net
Posted by jiimm (1 comment )
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