Google Desktop interaction

27 Oct 2004 - 12:13pm
9 years ago
5 replies
758 reads
Michael Bartlett
2004

A lot of people in the office and friends are raving about Google "Desktop",
but personally I'm quite disappointed by it and was wondering what the
opinion here was.

My dislike of it is mainly due to the disruptive interaction that I have to
through to search. Say I'm in Outlook and I want to quickly find an email. I
have to either open a new browser window (takes time), right click on the
Google Desktop systray icon and choose search (takes even more time) or
utilise an existing browser window, which generally means opening a new tab
(Mozilla).

Secondly, when I get my results back - and click on an item (once again, say
an Email) I get the email in HTML and I then have to click on another link
"Open in Outlook" to actually open the message and get me back into my
source application.

Personally, I prefer using LookOut (http://www.lookoutsoft.com/Lookout/
<http://www.lookoutsoft.com/Lookout/> ) as I have the search bar right in my
source application. It's a little slower to actually perform the search -
but in general I prefer it's interaction. Similarly, I evaluated a product
called EnFish a while ago and it installed toolbars into Outlook, Word,
Excel, IE, PPT and straight from there I could search my stuff without
having to open a new "application" to do so. It was just a bit pricey at the
time, although it's come down now to about $99.

A final interesting point is that I don't think that Google Desktop will be
that useful in a corporate/workgroup environment (where one REALLY needs
good search - all hail the KM mantra!) in that it can't find stuff you've
never seen - which is perhaps the most useful capability of Google on the
Web in general.

Any thoughts, am I being too critical because it's not the way I would have
done it!? You will note my cynicism in calling it "Desktop" ;)

Comments

27 Oct 2004 - 12:28pm
Lilly Irani
2004

I'm biased in judging whether you are being too critical, as I'm a UI
designer at Google. :) (I didn't work on Desktop Search though.) Your
criticisms don't sound unreasonable, but I know that I would prefer
not having to wait for source applications (or worse yet, the
incorrect source app, which is common) to open in order to view the
contents I have found. Perhaps a quick link to the source file is what
you're craving?

> A final interesting point is that I don't think that Google Desktop will be
> that useful in a corporate/workgroup environment (where one REALLY needs
> good search - all hail the KM mantra!) in that it can't find stuff you've
> never seen - which is perhaps the most useful capability of Google on the
> Web in general.
It is only this point that I push back on. Corporations with intranets
and a search engine across that internet can simply encourage/enable
people to put all their documentation, notes, mocks, etc on network
space mapped to web space. That's one way of filling the "finding
information you have never seen" need. But how often do you have
information you have never seen sitting on your machine?

In the corporate environment, it's surprising to me how many of my
decisions get made and documented over email and IM. That's why
searching stuff I have seen -- have documented, if with artifacts of
logs -- is incredibly valuable to me. Searching through the contents
of your computer so far has been pretty pitiful. That's where GD does
help me in the corporate environment.

27 Oct 2004 - 12:43pm
Clay Newton
2004

I personally love the Desktop Search app and am looking forward to the
1.0. I always have at least one browser window open to Google, so
hitting that for a search is not difficult. I actually find Outlook to
be far more of a dog when it comes to interaction. For example, I have
to archive my mail to a seperate Archive Folder outside of my Exchange
Mailbox. The requires that I "rebuild" all the folders under my Inbox
in a seperate top level node ("Mailbox" vs "Archive Folders".)

> Secondly, when I get my results back - and click on an item (once again, say
> an Email) I get the email in HTML and I then have to click on another link
> "Open in Outlook" to actually open the message and get me back into my
> source application.

Have you tried enabling the "Web" toolbar in Outlook? If you set your
homepage in IE to the Google Desktop homepage, you can just click the
little "Home" button and search away. Still an extra click to "Open in
Outlook," but nonetheless a bit quicker.

If Google does what is suggested in this article on a Google-branded
Firefox http://tinyurl.com/4bpqg things will become even more
interesting. I can't say what it might end up meaning for
interoperability with M$ apps, but I am doing everything I can to
avoid using Office outside of my corporate life.

Run Google, run!
-Clay

27 Oct 2004 - 12:57pm
Gerard Torenvliet
2004

Another great product for the desktop search set: Copernic Desktop Search.

http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/index.html

It provides a more direct interaction with common apps than some other
solutions, and allows you to do searches targeted just at email, or
just at some type of document, quite easily.
--
:: Gerard Torenvliet
:: g.torenvliet at gmail.com

28 Oct 2004 - 4:22am
Michael Bartlett
2004

There are certainly times where I'm happy to search from my browser - and
yes, a quicker link to the source application rather than the HTML preview
would be a good idea. However, I would still love to see toolbars in my
source apps - I spend more of my time in Outlook + Word + PowerPoint than I
do in a browser, so that's where I want my search.

In terms of the corporate environment, say I'm using SharePoint (which I
do), then surely Google Desktop will only index content that I have seen (in
my Browser history) and will not mine content in other Shared Workspaces
that I have not visited before. Perhaps a file-storage API that will allow
3rd parties to index content in systems that GD is unable to index (say
Documentum).

-----Original Message-----
From: Lilly Irani [mailto:lilly.irani at gmail.com]
Sent: 27 October 2004 18:29
To: Michael Bartlett
Cc: IxD
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Google Desktop interaction

I'm biased in judging whether you are being too critical, as I'm a UI
designer at Google. :) (I didn't work on Desktop Search though.) Your
criticisms don't sound unreasonable, but I know that I would prefer not
having to wait for source applications (or worse yet, the incorrect source
app, which is common) to open in order to view the contents I have found.
Perhaps a quick link to the source file is what you're craving?

> A final interesting point is that I don't think that Google Desktop
> will be that useful in a corporate/workgroup environment (where one
> REALLY needs good search - all hail the KM mantra!) in that it can't
> find stuff you've never seen - which is perhaps the most useful
> capability of Google on the Web in general.
It is only this point that I push back on. Corporations with intranets and a
search engine across that internet can simply encourage/enable people to put
all their documentation, notes, mocks, etc on network space mapped to web
space. That's one way of filling the "finding information you have never
seen" need. But how often do you have information you have never seen
sitting on your machine?

In the corporate environment, it's surprising to me how many of my decisions
get made and documented over email and IM. That's why searching stuff I have
seen -- have documented, if with artifacts of logs -- is incredibly valuable
to me. Searching through the contents of your computer so far has been
pretty pitiful. That's where GD does help me in the corporate environment.

28 Oct 2004 - 5:26am
Alex Robinson
2004

At 10:22 am +0100 2004/10/28, Michael Bartlett wrote:
>There are certainly times where I'm happy to search from my browser - and
>yes, a quicker link to the source application rather than the HTML preview
>would be a good idea. However, I would still love to see toolbars in my
>source apps - I spend more of my time in Outlook + Word + PowerPoint than I
>do in a browser, so that's where I want my search.

If Google Desktop ran on OS X, I would suggest using LaunchBar [0] or
Quicksilver [1].

Then it would be as simple as typing cmd-space followed by g (or
whatever abbreviation you've picked) to invoke a Google search no
matter what application you happened to be in. No need for toolbars
at all.

In Quicksilver you could even assign a direct shortcut (if
cmd-spacebar g is too laborious for you).

Going further, you could even create and refine your query templates
to restrict the search to particular file types, subjects etc.

I believe that AppRocket [2], the Windows clone of LaunchBar, also
allows you to invoke web queries so what I've written above
hypothetically on OS X should be possible on Windows.

[0] http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar
[1] http://quicksilver.blacktree.com
[2] http://www.candylabs.com/approcket

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