No question – this beats Windows XP’s search function hands down, as I mentioned in my post last week.
It’s pretty intuitive and very straightforward. You want to search for a particular file, so you just type in the keyword(s) in the search field, hit the button and off it goes. No having to think about where to search, when the doc was created, in hidden folders, whatever. And no animated dog.
In my experience, the types of file I use a search function for tend to be all the file types that Google Desktop will search for: Word, Excel and PowerPoint files; Outlook emails; plain text files; and instant messenger chat sessions. A big plus is its ability to search your emails – great when you’re looking for that attachment someone sent you. It also looks through your browser cache. Bear in mind, though, that it doesn’t search for every single type of file on your PC. No image files, for example.
Overall, Google Desktop search lets you focus on what you want to find rather than where it is. In fact, you don’t really care where it is as long as you find it. It’s parallel with Google web search is great – when you invoke the search function (it pops up in your browser) you get a very similar screen that you see when you get Google on the web. Below the text box in which you type your search keywords are two clear choices: Search Desktop or Search the Web.
The only* negative I can see is that if you have multiple users on a single PC, it will work only for the user who installed it. If some one else logs in, he or she can’t use it unless the original installer is also logged in.
That aside, for me it’s a winner.
* Now take a look at this article in The Register which discusses some potential issues re individual privacy through using Google Desktop: