Desktop search

Well, after exercising various options first hand, I can report that I’m going to return back to using Lookout and Copernic Desktop Search (CDS). Here’s why:

  • Lookout has the best search performance and functionality within Outlook for me.
  • CDS has an intuitive interface that also performs well and is accessible. Its search quality is better than both Google Desktop Search (GDS) and MSN Desktop Search (MDS), at least in searches that I run daily to find content I need.
  • The GDS UI is both spartan and overwhelming depending on where you look (e.g. it took no time for me to dismiss its Sidebar, opting instead for the floating one-box search widget).
  • GDS returns results as you type. While this is an interesting feature, I find it distracting. Regardless, I will most always opt for timely-and-accurate than for cool.
  • While the MDS UI is pervasive, interacting with MDS is surprisingly slow. For example, MDS is blown away within Outlook by Lookout.
  • While MDS can index .one files, I actually found its OneNote search preview results to be confusing (i.e. didn’t look at all like what I expected given a known term within a known section and page).

This process was useful in discovering my personal content management priorities. Your mileage may of course vary. There are a few things I’d like to see from my current tools of choice as follows:

  • Lookout performance be fully transferred to Outlook “12” built-in search
  • Copernic take a more proactive and engaged stance with developers (i.e. this alone doesn’t cut it)
  • OneNote file extractor plug-in for CDS–not that an adapter has to be provided by either Microsoft or Copernic

Interesting, I see that Omar Shahine just gave MDS the boot, too…

Update 2/9/2006: GDS3 raises privacy concerns, with me anyway…regardless of its opt-in basis ([1], [2], [3]).

Update 2/27/2006: Copernic, lend us your APIs!! By doing so, for example, I can leverage Mindjet’s Research Accelerator. The folks at Mindjet Labs want to integrate RA with CDS like they already have with GDS, but you have to provide some public interfaces to enable the integration.