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InsideGoogle
Monday, November 08, 2004
 
A Look At Apple's Spotlight Desktop Search
Apple has put up a page about its desktop search product, Spotlight, which will be a part of OS X 10.4. So far, the product looks interesting, with search results coming in as you type the query word, instead of waiting for you to hit the search button. Spotlight searches your files, emails, contacts, and calendars, and lets you pinpoint file types like "Movies" or "Images". There is even limited targeting of searches, so that you can search for things like portrait-formatted images.

Spotlight's technology is also explained. It uses the metadata contained in every file, something Google Desktop Search cannot. This means a search for a person's name will turn up files authored by that person, since that sort of info will usually be in the metadata. You can even search files by when they were authored, or when you received them, or when they were revised. I can imagine how much more powerful Google Desktop would be if it could read all the description info contained in my MP3 ID tags. Spotlight uses an index, which seems to be the agreed-upon only way of properly searching files in real-time, and the index is updated on the fly. Spotlight can read all major file types, and can add new file types instantly. Spotlight also comes with an API that developers can build upon, including creating custom importers for special file types.

Supported File Formats

  • Plain text
  • RTF
  • PDF
  • Mail
  • Address Book contacts
  • Microsoft Office Word documents
  • Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets
  • Keynote presentations
  • Photoshop images
  • Applications
  • Folders/directories
  • Video and audio files:
    • MP3
    • AAC
    • MOV
  • Images:
    • JPEG
    • GIF
    • TIFF
    • PNG
    • EXIF
Spotlight seems to be everything I want out of Google Desktop Search, and probably won't see till much farther down the line. Just by releasing an API, Apple has ensured a powerful product that will only get better, and without the work of messy hacks. Good work, Apple.
(via Slashdot)

Comments:
This is how a desktop search should be. That's why I use copernic desktop search that works similar to spotlight. I don't use GDS. It's very limited in functionality and basically it "searches" whereas spotlight and copernic does "filter" which is lot faster.
 
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