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Monday, December 13, 2004
MSN Toolbar Suite vs. Google Desktop Search
While I wait for indexing to complete, here's a comparison of the MSN Toolbar Suite vs. Google Deskbar / Toolbar / Desktop Search:

What Google has that MSN doesn't:
Deskbar has custom searches and API
Indexes AIM convesations
Has buttons for special searches, as opposed to only drop-down selection.
PageRank display
Advanced Google options (cache, translate, backlinks)

What MSN has that Google doesn't:
All the products are integrated, rather than a strange collection of disparate products
Can run Desktop Search from Toolbar and from Windows Explorer
Local Search
Mail notifier
IM status
Go to my MSN Space
More Form Fill options
Highlight search terms

Did I miss any?

MSN has that Google doesn't:

Microsoft already has all the keys to your private data anyway, so you don't lose much security by installing Microsoft's Desktop Search. On the other hand, installing Google Desktop Search requires trusting yet another organization.
Interesting. I hadn't thought about it that way.
Good god! Why does Blogger select anonymous for me?
I like that MSN Desktop Search indexes my Programs folder. I can find and launch an application much quicker by typing (part of) its name than waiting for the Start Menu to expand so I can find it there.

I'm also digging the shortcuts you can create. I've already set up the following:

Google Search:

Google Phonebook:

UPS Package Tracking:

Enter one of the strings above in the search bar to create a shortcut, then use it like this:

shortcut searchterm

For example:

phonebook yourname yourcity CA (substitute your state)

Sweet! I can't wait to play with this some more, and find out more about what it can do. I'm loving it so far.

Great job guys!

Josh Bancroft -
What NEITHER Google Destop Search NOR MSN Desktop Search has is a seemingly minor but actually extraordinarily useful feature: a preview panel with the search word or phrase highlighted. Copernic has this feature, and on the strength of this as well as its beautifully designed interface, it remains my DTS tool of choice.
Then you might be interested in checking out Ask Jeeves Desktop Search, due out today, which does have a preview pane.

Plus, don't be surprised if a future (and not too far in the future) version of MSN Desktop Search has that feature. Google, though, I doubt it.
I wish the Google Desktop search indexed AIM, I use GAIM and my AIM logs are not indexed even though these are plain text files with a .txt extension. My Thunderbird email is also not indexed, nor are my usenet posts (Agent). In short, Google fails to index most of the stuff I need to search, so I have to guess where the data is and go search using specific search functions for each program (all of which are seriously lacking) or use Windoze search functions to find which file might have the data, and then figure out how to open the file in the right application. All in all, it's a huge mess, and of course Microsoft hasn't done it any better either.

Why doesn't the Google Desktop Search use an .ini file where the user can specify what file types should be indexed? That would instantly solve all the problems I have with the Google Desktop Search.

Why doesn't Google have a customer support department where users can actually GET help? Email sent to support addresses gets an auto-ack, but a personal response will not come until *weeks* later, if at all. From where I sit, it seems that the Google developers work in a vacuum - separated from their users. They build stuff without apparent input or feedback from users. So far, they have manged to build some stuff that works well, and other stuff that is stupid (like the default search result for Google Groups Advance search results of "relevancy" rather than "date" which results in a 20 year old usenet post being deemed more "relevant" than a post from last week).
If they are text files, MSN can index them. Just tell it to index the folder. As for Google, it should be indexing them.
I have a similiar problem with both MSN and Google Desktop searches relating to my Gaim logs. Gaim logs all convervations on Linux in ~/.gaim/logs but more importantly on the windows port in C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\.gaim\logs. The Application Data is a direction in which both Google and the MSN search bar fail to search, and for decent reasoning. But I can't seem to find any way of how to force either search product to search my logs in the application directory. When MSN brings ups the folder explorer to ask me which drives and directories to search, Application Data fails to make the list. Maybe in another search tool or in a later version I will beable to finally search my gaim logs!

Until then,
MSN desktop search can search pdf content, while Google Desktop search can not.
The Problem isn't Google Of Microsoft Desktop. Gaim doesn't have a option to save you IM log into another directory. I use GAIM and it's great, but putting the save conversations in the Application DATA is stupid. Not allowing you to choose the path is even dumber. This is a GAIM Problem
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