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Business Week On Desktop Search Economics

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the you-mean-they-want-money-too dept.

Businesses 106

prostoalex writes "Business Week responds to the recent announcement by Yahoo! to join the ever-competitive desktop search field and asks whether any money will be made in giving away free utilities for desktop search. Apparently, beyond the intangible benefit of brand loyalty (which on the Internet probably doesn't amount to a whole lot), the only way to make money off the desktop search engines, as Business Week sees it, is to show related ads, which is bound to bring up some privacy issues."

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Personal Search Tool (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339574)

What we need soon (if not now) is a personal search tool (PST) which searches/records all RFID-paired (paired for security) items in your surrounding, so that you can search anything (eg remote control, old text book sealed in one of the boxes) you have ever owned/paired.

Every time you bought a new item (anything RFID-ed), you pair it with this PST, which you wear like a watch, and its location is then recorded on a 3D grid of your designated surrounding (eg house mode, car mode). And this PST will constantly monitor/update its search index.

I think search is almost indispensable now, I almost always open up google.com when I tried to find my car key, and I feel as bad as those who wanted to carjack vehicles after playing too much GTA. I must be dreaming.

Re:Personal Search Tool (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339691)

Let me update an old saying to accompany this new era: "I'd lose my head if it didn't have this rfid chip implanted in it."

Freinds! Trolls! Countrymen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339797)

MC Hawking needs your reviews [amazon.com] !!!

take off every zig
you know what you do

Re:Personal Search Tool (2, Funny)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339727)

That's a damn sweet idea. Of course, there may be some "prior art", if you happen to remember the whistler keychains :) Those were a little attachment, that if you whistled, or perhaps clapped, it would make a beeping noise. My best friend's mom had one when we were little, since he would always hide her keys, but didn't think to remove the whistler thingy.

Re:Personal Search Tool (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339774)

Reminds me of http://www.bash.org/?1660 [bash.org]

Re:Personal Search Tool (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342334)

Next thing you know, there will be a Slashdot article saying somebody has come up with a search string that lets you use Google to find everybody's car keys.

Not regular brand loyalty (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339576)

They've missed the point. Google/Yahoo/whoever produce a good desktop search that you want to install. You install it. Then, when you need the search the web, what's the first place you're going to search with? Well, probably the one that's already running on your desktop. It's there and easy to access. That's how they make the money. You use their search engine and see their ads. No, you're not forced to use them, but most people will because it's what they want or they're lazy.

Re: Not regular brand loyalty (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339925)

This is exactly right. Not every individual commercial product a company offers has to have a standalone revenue model. These desktop search products are obviously part of a larger mission to get you to use Google's or Yahoo!'s or MSN's search boxes to search your personal stuff and therefore the web as well, and the web search economic model of contextual ads is both well understood and accepted. Do any slashdotters actually work for real companies? So far, Google, the darling of the slashdot crowd, is the only company I know of that puts ads next to personal content (in Gmail).

Re:Not regular brand loyalty (2, Insightful)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340960)

I can understand Google and Yahoo doing things the way they are, but once again, it seems MS is doing things backwards.

Its the "let's make the hard drive as easy to navigate as the web by using the same tools" that now leads to "let's make the hard drive as easy to search as the web using the same tools".

Both approaches fail in that they don't seem to understand doing these things for your hard drive should be easier than doing it on the web.

At least Apple seems to "get it" even if they don't always get it right (from Sherlock to Spotlight).

useability vs. rampant disruptiveness (1)

Foktip (736679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341489)

But useability is another matter entierly. I seriously doubt that Yahoo or MSN will come up with a fast, "user-friendly" searh tool. If theres advertisments, they had better be small, non-disruptive in nature, or it will piss everyone off and have a negative impact on society's productiveness. There already is indexed searching stuff in Windows. Its not great, but it has the right idea. It runs a service in the background and it looks/feels like a normal search tool. Except, that animated dog should be disabled by default (for performance and relevance reasons). These new file search tools are going in the wrong direction - theyre trying to make you, the user, conform to their interface (standards) - which were made for INTERNET searching - when you've already become accustomed to standard file search interfaces. It will also probably do unnessecarily disruptive things like run in the taskbar (slow your computer down) and prompt you for updates. Though, there is definitely room for a better advanced search thing in Linux. Mayby we'll be able to use it in scripts to help find different locations of things, such as in source compiling (eg: cant find qtlibs dir, please use --qtlibs="dir" then recompile).

Once again, money money money (2, Insightful)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339577)

Seriously it's money that drives a product therefore if there is no cash incentive, the product will fail.

Brand loyalty (in my segment) will default to 'benevolent' google.

Cash isn't king to everyone, but programmers do have to eat (And corporations do have to make a profit else they get hammered off the street).

Re:Once again, money money money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339613)

Suck it down Linux !

Re:Once again, money money money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339772)

Thou SHANT speak nary an unkind word of the Linux!!!

Re:Once again, money money money (1)

theVP (835556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340111)

Can someone explain the cash incentive for Firefox to me? I mean, if products without cash incentives fail, and Firefox hasn't failed, then where is its cash incentive?

Re:Once again, money money money (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 9 years ago | (#11344672)

True, but there IS such a thing as sponsoring a product. And there's always advertising revenue as well. These search tools WILL pull up paid advertisers as well as general pages.

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339578)

FP

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339648)

Failed Post?

Ads = No desktop search (2, Insightful)

MacBrave (247640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339597)

If the only reason companies like Yahoo!, Google, MS, etc. are entering the desktop search arena is in order to generate ad revenue, you can be sure I will never install one.

Ads related to my web searches? Ok. Ads based on what files are on my PC? No thanks, too big of a privacy concern for me.......

Re:Ads = No desktop search (1)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339642)

If the only reason companies like Yahoo!, Google, MS, etc. are entering the desktop search arena is in order to generate...revenue

Why else would a publicly traded corporation release a product?

Re:Ads = No desktop search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339663)

Prevent someone else from generating revenue?

Re:Ads = No desktop search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339682)

For peace on Earth, goodwill towards men?

Re:Ads = No desktop search (1)

mithras the prophet (579978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340031)

For revenue from a source other than ads? You snipped out the operative part of the guy's post.

Re:Ads = No desktop search (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339671)

I think the whole reason brand-name PCs have become so cheap is because each PC has become a revenue stream for the OEM. I wrote [brew-masters.com] about it in one my journals...

Ads = Money (1)

zarr (724629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340546)

If the only reason companies like Yahoo!, Google, MS, etc. are entering the desktop search arena is in order to generate ad revenue...

Wake Up! What business do you think Yahoo and Google are in? How do you think they make money? Does just having a bunch of people use your free search engine/instant messenger/web-mail/whatever just magically generate revenue? No, these comapnies are in the Advertising Business. They sell advertising space. Everything else is just a way to get you to watch (and hopefully click) their ads.

Of course, that doesn't mean that they can't be very nice companies with great products. For google especially, that seems to have been a successful strategy. Just remember, "be nice" is not their business plan.

Have a stay at the No-Tell Motel on Route 9! (4, Funny)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339617)

Consumer! I've noticed from your documents and spending habits you seem to be having an affair with your secretary!

Use this online coupon for $5 a one-hour stay at the NoSleep No-Tell Motel on Route 9 near the Feed Store. Choose from our variety of rooms including our "honeymoon suite" with mirrored ceilings, floors, walls, you name it. Or perhaps you'd like the "hygenic room" where everything is made of plastic and can be quickly sprayed down and sanitized both before and after your stay.

Redeem this coupon before January 30 or you might just suffer an unfortunate mass mailing virus infestation. What was your spouse's e-mail address again...?

Only a fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339618)

Only a fool would run something on their computer that shows ads.....oh, wait, yeah, the web. Nevermind.

Re:Only a fool (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339694)

What about Opera? Oh wait, only fools run that too :)

There's money there? (2, Interesting)

MLopat (848735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339619)

Since when has not making any money off of an idea ever stopped a .com. As we all saw during the .com explosion, most of these companies didn't have a business plan. So its no surprise the desktop version of the .com search engine has no way of making money -- yet.

Yet another hole to cram advertising in (1)

ct.smith (80232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339624)

Whenever I see another suggestion for a new place to shove in ads, I cringe. Ads have become one of the top reasons for me to stop using, ignore or actively disparage products. I even stopped reading the article half-way through because of the disgusting amount of bright, flashy ads in the margins.

It seems to me that Google is right, if want to keep a happy customer, stop advertising at every possibility!

Ok, that's enough ranting now.

Re:Yet another hole to cram advertising in (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339718)

Firefox + Adblock = What ads?

Re:Yet another hole to cram advertising in (1)

ct.smith (80232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339783)

Ads in webpages are easy enough to deal with (Moz in my case, not Firefox), but in general ... well, Adblock doesn't do a lot to block out ads everywhere else, especially in meat-space. (hey, does anyone use that expression anymore? Oh, rambling now, back to work.)

ADBLOCKER (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339852)

judicious use of wildcard matches over time (for example, *ads.osdn*) will remove most annoying crap from almost any site you visit.

Re:Yet another hole to cram advertising in (1)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340153)

I see no advertisements on the site.. at least no "bright, flashy" ones. And truth be told, I don't ever see Google's text ads either.

Re:Yet another hole to cram advertising in (1)

flashgc (781735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343105)

I'll go along with bailing out on the 'flashy & obnoxious' ad pages that tend to divert my attention from the information I really want but I confess to having grown comfy with those of the google 'adsense' variety, quiet little text blurbs alongside that just may reveal another source of information. I occasionally search intentionally for products so it's hard to be offended by someone offering products that may relate to my searches. Do I want it on my desktop? Not so's you'd notice.

Desktops? (1)

Id guy (847060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339628)

Does anyone know of a case where any company that said "We're giving out free computers" and actually did it? I sure do'nt! It's just one of those buisness ploys that morons always indulge in.

Re:Desktops? (1)

LilBlackDemon (604917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339660)

I believe a few years ago, during the .com "boom," PeoplePC tried to woo customers without computers by providing a free computer when they signed up for a 12-month subscription to their service. If they had tried that previously, before most people got comptuers, they probably would've done great. However, they waited til the end of the boom, when everyone had already bought systems, to start that campaign. They tried, but it was "too little, too late."

Re:Desktops? (1)

rm007 (616365) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340160)

But as it turned out, one of the lessons to be drawn from this is that people don't actually want to put up with ads. In a world where even the likes of AOL tout their pop-up blocking features, it is safe to say that pushing ads onto a desktop just wont't fly. What you will get by having your desktop search utility on people's computers is probably limited to having your logo in their face. Oh, and given the choice that users will have in search utilities, chances are that trust, if not loyalty, will play a role in who people "invite" onto their computers. Having a lock on desktop search will probably be linked to having a lock on web search - and that is where the money will continue to be made.

Re:Desktops? (1)

ZenFu (692407) | more than 9 years ago | (#11344557)

Does anyone know of a case where any company that said "We're giving out free computers" and actually did it? I sure do'nt! It's just one of those buisness ploys that morons always indulge in.

I think so -only they're called cell phones - but that's the difference. Perhaps, the average person's computer hardware is changing to become more special purpose which will encourage the issuing of free digital devices in those areas that provide a positive revenue model.

Also, the sometimes successful idea of giving away stuff for free is at least as old as giving away the razor and selling the blades.

Views vs. Clicks (3, Interesting)

clinko (232501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339638)

Lets see their marketing plan:

So they make something so that people can get things done _faster_.

Then they put advertisements in.

Then hope they'll forget they were trying to get things done and start clicking on those ads?

Makes no sense.

That's like hoping someone will leave during a tv show to get the product they see during a commercial.

The only money they'll make from advertising is views, not clicks. And we know this doesn't work.

Re:Views vs. Clicks (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339865)

I still don't even understand these desktop search tools. As a consumer, why use them? Don't I already have a search function in my OS? Speaking of which, why is MS releasing a desktop search tool? It's like, "We admit that the search capabilities included with the OS suck, so we put our MSN people on it"??

So I don't understand why the companies would particularly want to create these tools unless they were going to be adware. But then that brings me back to the question of, why would consumers want to download adware to search their hard drive when there's a search function in your OS?

Marketing simplified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340919)

When people drive into town, do the billboard owners hope they'll "click" on the billboards?

When you read an ad in a computer magazine, does the advertiser hope you'll just run off and order right then and there?

The idea about advertising in general is to place the advertiser in the mindscape of a certain populace. Do I know which toothpastes are better than others? No, but when I see a bunch of toothpaste brands sitting around on a shelf in a store, I already have previous conceptions about many of them.

In short, I pick what I think I know, or at least feel least discomfortable in picking (in the absense of more information, that is). In some ways, ads are about building choosing habits before people even encounter the choice.

Solved. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339656)

2. ???? = show ads

This is where OSS can shine! (1)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339666)

I'm not trying to be a socialist with this thought, but most companies, particularly public ones who answer to their shareholders, are concerned with making a profit.

The economics of some of these tools are going to require companies to hijack our desktop with pop-up ads or 'relevant' ads.

However, the Open Source Software community could provide tools to do this without the profit motive.

Its kinda like the ole saying, 'some things only the government can/wants to do'; well some things only the OSS community can/wants to do.

Re:This is where OSS can shine! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339839)

However, the Open Source Software community could provide tools to do this without the profit motive.

And who provides the cash to take care of the overhead? Sure, if I had someone paying for my distribution, maintenance and support costs I could release successful software too. In the end someone has to foot the bill. And if the OSS community is so gung-ho to this concept there is nothing blocking their path.

BTW: Joe Sixpack still isn't going to give a rats ass about open source reguardless. You give him a free app? Fine! Make him care about the time and effort behind it? Good luck.

And besides gaining more support for open source what other reason would someone else bother with such a project? There certainly won't be a paycheck involved if you're not worry about profit. Good intentions are fine but it doesn't pay the bills.

Re:This is where OSS can shine! (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341081)

And besides gaining more support for open source what other reason would someone else bother with such a project? There certainly won't be a paycheck involved if you're not worry about profit. Good intentions are fine but it doesn't pay the bills.

Gross generalisation. Open source often pays the bills. When one developer can develop a software used by millions of people the marginal cost per person is in the noise. Broken per-copy IP licensing models break this simple truth. With 6,400,000,000+ [census.gov] people in the world it is a statistical certainty that for popular software somebody somewhere will have both the means and the motivation to write good software.

It may be a government department not wanting their citizens to send millions of dollars overseas when a taxpayer funded programmer can do it for a few thousand. It may be a researcher who wants to investigate the technical aspects. It may be a teenager who wants to show how hot they are. It may be a retiree looking for something to do and wanting to contribute back the community. It may be a contract programmer in between jobs wanted to keep their skills up. It may be a third world programmer looking to make contacts in the first world. It may be a commercial software consumer not happy with what's available, rolling their own and not wanting to become a vendor because they prefer the good will. It may simply be a programmer pissed off with the junk available in the commercial arena.

Fact is, your rant about money being the only motivator is pathetic and a sad reflection on your tunnel-vision education.

---

DRM - Democracy Restriction & Manipulation

Re:This is where OSS can shine! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341692)

Fact is, your rant about money being the only motivator is pathetic and a sad reflection on your tunnel-vision education.

Fact is, you haven't answered my question... Who's going to pay the bills? This isn't about producing an app, it's about making an app work on a large scale with support, distribution and future developement. Your rant is the sad reflection of a lack of contemplation on the subject. I'm sure you know nothing about my education either.

Re:This is where OSS can shine! (1)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341909)

Who says working on an app like this needs to pay the bills? How does someone with astronomy as an hobby pay the bills? How does someone who likes to paint pay the bills? You know, it doesn't all have to be about money? If could be about a desire to create better software, a desire to get work experience, a desire to help your fellow man, a desire to see an end result to a creative effort, etc.

If OSS development results in a team of people, the division of labor can be spread out so that you dont need to spend 14 hours a day working on it (if you don't want to). Of course if you produce a good app, there might be those willing to pay for support or offer a 'bounty' for features.

Re:This is where OSS can shine! (1)

Tincan2k (839706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341605)

Shameless plug: Nariva http://nariva.sf.net/ [sf.net] is a java based OSS desktop search tool I'm working on. Uses mostly Apache software but is still in beta. If anyone in the OSS community is interested in helping me out, feel free.

It's not a question of money. (5, Insightful)

Undefined Tag (750722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339669)

It's not a question of money, but of presence. Once you have everyone using your software, you can look at sneaking in profit centers.

Google's a great example. They didn't start with AdSense - they added it once they were king.

Once your app is everywhere, you have all sorts of options. For example, if you don't want to sell ads, write another (commercial) program which expands the functionality of the original.

It's not always about the quick buck. Sometimes, it's about putting yourself in the proper position.

Re:It's not a question of money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340006)

It's not always about the quick buck. Sometimes, it's about putting yourself in the proper position.

Right, in the proper position to fuck someone :)

Re:It's not a question of money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340068)

It's not always about the quick buck. Sometimes, it's about putting yourself in the proper position.


Right, in the proper position to fuck someone :)



It might have been a joke, but it is litteraly true. The one who dies with the most offspring wins, genetically speaking.


(www.xenu.net)

Re:It's not a question of money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340328)

It's been said that 1/8 of the current world population is a direct decendent of Ghengis Kahn.

Re:It's not a question of money. (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341010)

And nobody knows this better than Microsoft.

How much did IE develpment cost with no real chance of turning a profit?

How about the Xbox?

Its all jockeying for the position at the top of the hill. Then you make the money.

Um... (2, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339673)

How is this even a viable industry, niche market, killer app, or whatever the hell it is that they seem to think it is.

Maybe they need to teach people how to use a computer... because I can't see this catering to anyone but the "I can't find my files even though Windows XP Retard Edition saves it to My\ Documents by default" crowd.

Can't someone just port grep -r to win32, maybe put a fancy GUI around it? Or is it suddenly innovation to reinvent simple tools unix already invented 30 years ago?

Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (2, Insightful)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339892)

First of all, grep has been available on windows for a very long time. However, what does grep have to do with any of these search engines?

Will grep find an instance of a word in a pdf document buried in gigabytes of data? What about a plain text document, who will find it faster, grep or GDS?

You do know these things are indexing your docs right?

Maybe you should invent a dumb search engine that gets rid of all that wasteful indexing nonsense does the following:

NoMoreNicksLeft's search engine (v 1.0)

1) Enter text you want to search
2) Enter "top" URL to start search from
3) Crawl whole internet looking for that string for as many links as can be reached from that "top" document.

Version 2.0 would replace steps 2 and 3 with

2) Randomly select a "top" URL, and visit every registered domain on the internet.

Does that make sense to you, because that's what you're suggesting.

Re:Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340070)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article refers to "Desktop Search", a term that in this context means something more along the lines of "searching through all your files on your own computer".

Dumbass.

Grep is pretty lean, doesn't have to fuck with the win32 API, and does indeed work on strings hidden in any file. I think it would easily give GDS a run for its money, considering that anyone who deserves to be using a modern computer, has at least the base skills needed to actually organize their damn files. What, you don't know how to name them, or drop them in a dir that organizes like files? I've had a computer since 1994, and I've never once had to search based on actual content.

"Gee, um, I wrote a thesis on roller-coasters 3 years ago, an um, I used the word dorkifier!".

I don't think so.

Re:Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (1)

mercenaryCoder (656282) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340269)

You are definately not a programmer. Sure, all my source is organized but you still need to search to find the files you are interested in based on content. GDS indexes all my java files and returns results almost instantaneously. I do use grep in a unix environment and have a windows port , but find GDS much more efficient.

Re:Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (1)

furball (2853) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341371)

Please, wake up and consume some caffeine products. Please.

grep sucks. grep is woefully inadequate when you have a lot of data. When you don't know where things are or have a lot of data, grep fails in usability. Grep works fine if you assume small datasets and your time is meaningless.

That's why glimpse exist. glimpse, unlike grep, indexes data first, then searches the index. The result is significantly faster results on the same amount data.

Non-OS desktop searches will definitely suck donkey nuts. Since they work on indexes, they'll always be stale. The right approach to desktop searches is to stash it into the OS. Apple's going to deliver theirs in 2005. They're not the first though. BeOS was the first. It's useful enough that if you have a search for the word "slashdot" and after the search runs and you create a new document with the word "slashdot" in it, OSX's desktop search will put it in the result window.

The GDS without OS integrations won't be able to match that. grep is a pattern matcher. It's not a search tool.

Re:Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (1)

mobilebuddha (713936) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341668)

An example of GDS/copernic that beat grep -r hands down:

A coworker of mine sent me an email about a URL about 1 year ago (now in my archived folders) that I need to use today to check for XML validities based on a specific DTD for my work.

Please tell me how you are going to search my Outlook archived folders (which is about 8GBs, when you add all of 'em together) using grep -r.

Using copernic, I can search either by author, or a date, or any part of the word that i could think of. After typing each letter, it narrows the search results down. I found what I was looking for in about 2 seconds.

Good luck on getting grep -r to find that in about.. how about forever?

You still don't get it (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341737)

So you've had a computer since 1994. Wow!

As long as we're pulling our history, my first one was an Apple //c in 1984. What does that have to do with anything?

The article is talking about "desktop search", but if you had bothered to read it or understand it, you will see that these are indexed services that search quickly and on a greater variety than something like grep!

Grep is for plain text documents, it's not going to work on PDF files, office documents, and all the other weird formats that exist on a normal PC.

Indexed searching, like web searching, is a way to get to the results basically in O(1) time ... constant time. Think of a hashtable.

Regular non indexed search or something like find and/or grep, is iterative, and will never achive constant time by the mere fact that it has to visit the very files you're looking for.

> "Gee, um, I wrote a thesis on roller-coasters 3 years ago, an um, I used the word dorkifier!"

I have thousands upon thousands of documents on my computer, including source code, you're going to tell me that grep is going to be better than GDS in finding all instances of notes, emails, and source discussing a particular API or classname?

It's not only about organizing files, it's about getting the information quickly, and getting it in as many formats as possible. In addition, with GDS I can access older versions (cached) of my files, so it servers as a primitive version history that you get for free?

Why you think this is for idiots or useless really says more about you than the people using it. You don't even seem to grasp the basic essence of what is being discussed here!

I really recommend you stop embarassing yourself.

Re:You still don't get it (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341883)

Ok so its great. Fuck sliced bread. Where's the linux version? Oh, that's right. You just gave microsoft another way to hold you hostage. Have fun playing with VC++.NET or whatever the hell they call it.

So because you don't understand what ... (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341965)

... we're talking about (indexed search vs linear search) you're going to put the MS card?

If you have any clue, you can find an indexed search service for linux, but since I don't think you understand this concept yet let me help you out.

http://freshmeat.net/projects/glimpse/

What does VC++ or .NET have to do with usage of the tools being talked about in the article?

Re:So because you don't understand what ... (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342116)

You're such the wizardly coder. If you're using GDS to search through your source code files, then just what are you using?

Besides, wasn't my original post about "how was this some killer app" ? Great, linux has a version. And I doubt it will popup ads when I use it. Tell me, how can GDS be so cool, so special? I also use "less" and awful lot. Will Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple be competing next year over a utility that lets you scroll through long documents?

Re:So because you don't understand what ... (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342475)

> You're such the wizardly coder. If you're using GDS to search through your source code files, then just what are you using?

What do you mean what am I using? I'm using all kinds of tools to edit code, from vi to clunky heavy weight IDEs. I don't understand the question.

> Besides, wasn't my original post about "how was this some killer app" ?

I don't know if this is a killer app, but this is a great utility and it's much better than what you suggested; grep. Grep is great for quick searches in your current directory, log files, code. GDS and the like are better for everyday desktop use when you want the results now.

> And I doubt it will popup ads when I use it.

GDS doesn't popup ads.

> Tell me, how can GDS be so cool, so special?

I already told you, O(1) constant time searches, multiple document formats, cache version of files that you can use for doc history, etc. That's very special when compared to grep. For people that have a lot of files and do many things in the computer, it's a great tool. If you don't need it, good for you!

> I also use "less" and awful lot. Will Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple be competing next year over a utility that lets you scroll through long documents?

You seem to be saying that if there's a basic tool that already does something (grep), there's no need for a much better version of it? Wow.

less ... well, I use more, but I wouldn't mind if GDS had a preview link that lets me view the document plaintext in my browser right there. Oh wait it already does something like that, you can read your crappy Outlook emails from work quickly without opening the horrible outlook application, in your browser. That's great, try doing that with less.

Re:Let's use "grep -r" to search the internet! (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341725)

Will grep find an instance of a word in a pdf document buried in gigabytes of data?

Yes, unless it's in any encoding other than the one you are typing in. I also highly recommend using the -l option, unless you like reading a 50,000 character line from a binary. Grep is great, but it has its limits (including an O(n) search).

Re:Um... (2, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340509)

My problem is my half-photographic memory. I remember seeing a vague reference to whatever I'm looking for, but I don't remember where I saw it. Or I remember writing something relating to what I'm thinking about, but I don't remember when or why I did so. Google Desktop will find this for me, quickly.

The other thing I use GDS for is chat logs: if I remember reading someone say something, I can look for it much faster with GDS than with my megabytes of saved conversations. And if AIM crashes for whatever reason. GDS has been silently copying the conversation, so that I can get back to the history quickly.

Grep -r is slow; it's an on-demand search, not an indexing service. It's innovation to do things the right way instead of pulling out 30-year-old tools and asking them to use the same paradigms on today's volumes of data.

You shouldn't need it (1, Flamebait)

adlaiff6 (810221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339676)

Anyone that actually needs a desktop search has entirely too much stuff on their computer, or just can't organize.

I guess if one wanted to search through their masses of pr0n or pirated movies it would be useful, but for the average computer user, it shouldn't be necessary. Most people will probably get it because it's the "new item on the market", and they think just because it's new, it must be better.

Re:You shouldn't need it (1)

LilBlackDemon (604917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339749)

Most desktop searches can look inside of Word documents and read metadata from images. This means that they can find images from a date (for example) even though the file names don't always make sense (i.e.: DSC00082.jpg) or can find all documents on your hard drive having to do with a general topic, no matter where they're stored (for example, I sort in folders by year, but if I have stuff from two different years pertaining to the same thing, a search program can find it). This is a double-eged sword, however. With Windows' known vulnerabilities, plus the recent ones announced with the Windows Media DRM and Google Desktop Search, it's only a matter of time til more serious hacks are created.

Very short-sighted (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340460)

That's completely incorrect. I have over 140MB of e-mails at work. I have to save them (record retention at an investment firm). Google desktop can tell me in less than a second who I sent a particular PDF to 4 years ago. I can find every reference to a server in all documents and e-mails to track its history.

Just because you don't have enough stuff to search through doesn't mean others can't organize. You can create as many folders as you want, it's still a ton of crap to look through.

short-term thinking (2, Insightful)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339697)

beyond the intangible benefit of brand loyalty...

When used in this context, "intangible" doesn't mean "non-existent"... it means "hard to quantify". The difficulty of quantifying the benefit of a proposal should is not per se an argument against enacting the proposal.

For example, almost any investment in infrastructure has "intangible" benefits. When a government considers whether to build new roads to stimulate economic development of an area, it is very hard to pin down precisely what benefits will be derived in terms of commerce, consumption, quality of life, opportunity cost, etc... yet these kinds of decisions are made all the time, and for good reason: a persistent lack of infrastructural investment correlates strongly with diminished outcomes over the long term.

Desktop Security (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339714)

It should bring up some security issues too.. If i trusted Microsoft to really handle security I would probably want to use their tool just for that reason. I mean I don't want something able to a) look at all my files and b) then communicate to the open net...

If any vendor does that, even MS, I wouldn't really want to use tool. Of course that will not stop Mom and Pop Netizen and all their scriptkids from using them...

Geez... Anybody knows the way to profit is... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339720)

VOLUME!

Not sure if Google is trying to make money... (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339745)

Seems to me more like an effort to keep people using Google for web searches by making sure they turn to Goggle for local searches too, instead of the all-in-one MS tool that is going to be around eventually.

Basically, a pre-emptive strike to keep from loosing customers to Microsoft OS integration.

Re:Not sure if Google is trying to make money... (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340381)

Basically, a pre-emptive strike to keep from loosing customers to Microsoft OS integration.

Assuming, of course, that microsoft would have even thought of implementing a good desktop search system if Google had not it first.

MS has had a crude one for years, I remember my Win98 machine periodically going into a flury of disk activity, and consquently killing interactive response time, every couple of hours just to rebuild (from scratch) the full keyword index of MS word and other "Text" documents.

It took me almost a month to figure out that my machine wasn't broken, that MS intended that slowness and disk fight to happen regularly and that I could actually turn it off, if I knew where to look.

But from then until Google did their thing, MS certainly had not improved on their system and most people had learned to avoid installing it in the first place.

Coming in Longhorn... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340713)

Better search is supposed to be a big deal I think in Longhorn, and that is really the thing that Google is trying to prevent the eventual adoption of at the cost of thier own search traffic.

Re:Coming in Longhorn... (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340981)

You're right - now I remember all the hype about winfs, I had forgotten it since most of the hyped stuff had been "pushed back" for the release after longhorn...

Well... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341255)

WinFS has actually been pushed back as well, but I think they are still embedding some searching technologies. They have been trying to do that for a while though which is probably what got google worried.

I wonder what IS in Longhorn?

Sure wouldn't mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339796)


If anyone came out with a Win 98 desktop search tool. Yahoo! and Google search both need XP.

Yes Win 98. You laugh?
I'm stable, secure and have 5 machines on my network from a single cd. Mwah hah hah!

Re:Sure wouldn't mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339875)

start->find files/search

Loyalty IS important factor (1)

Zooka (457908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339819)

"...beyond the intangible benefit of brand loyalty (which on the Internet probably doesn't amount to a whole lot)..."

Brand loyalty doesn't amount to much on the Internet? I think that notion is very wrong. I believe that the more products/services one uses from a company - the more likely the avg person will stick with them. When a consumer trusts in a company, their loyalty usually follows. Sure, it isn't true for everyone, but trust/loyalty of the brand name is surely a very significant factor in any marketplace, the Internet being no exception.

Loyalty is an important factor everywhere (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340768)

I think it's even more important on the Internet. Brand loyalty on the internet is a critical factor for an internet company. It gets loyal users/customers to pass around your link. And people can be very fickle. With so many options it's easy to jump to something else and never return. There are thousands of search engines, but most people have only heard of Google, Yahoo, and (unfortunately) MSN and stick with them. Look at how quickly Google rose immediately after their fellow college students became loyal customers.

Contrived market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339821)

The desktop search race is the great anti-climax of 2004-2005. Is anyone really putting these tools to productive use after downloading and playing with them?

Profit from desktop search may not be the issue (1)

OwlWhacker (758974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339850)

Making money from desktop search may not be the issue.

If Microsoft was to create the only desktop search, Microsoft could leverage this to remove the need for Web-based search engines.

Microsoft wants a piece of everybody's pie. Well, the successful person's pie.

Who's to say that another Netscape-type incident couldn't occur within the search engine market?

Re:Profit from desktop search may not be the issue (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340806)

I think that may be the point. Netscape's only product (for a long time) was the browser. So when that was overtaken it was all downhill even though they were very well known. These desktop search providers have other primary offerings. They just want to get their foot in the door so if they succeed there's brand recognition and profit there or elsewhere. If they fail because of another Netscape-like incedent it doesn't matter. Their business runs on other products. They can only gain, even if they lose.

Other alternatives... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339881)

I've been using DocYouMeant Hound http://myradus.com/ [myradus.com] . Mostly because I know the guy who wrote it, but I've found it to be quite useful.

Universal Search (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339894)

"Universal Search" sounds to me like the next step in the evolution towards 'epic.' A peer to peer WWW in which we all contribute to and help index. Desktop search is the first step. see: http://www.robinsloan.com/epic/
All will act as a webserver for everyone else. Don't think in terms of 'search' think in terms of 'index.'

It's just a popularity contest (1)

urbieta (212354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339948)


Just that, the boy with the most toys wins since is the one with the most friends interested in the toys, just ask erp, hm, yahoo! heh

Not important? (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339975)

A desktop search engine will replace the file browser. This will give the company that gets the marketshare a platform that all users use whenever they interact with files.
On top of that platform you can now do anything - make your own API, distributed it with an integrated web browser, or movie-viewer, and in general get all the nice benefits that microsoft gets from having a virtual OS monopoly.
It is the whole reason why the browser war started, now on the desktop.
There is a sequence of events from where the user wants to do something till he/she gets it done. Once you get you foot in the door somewhere, you control much of the process, and can start milking the cow.

Spotlight (1)

cbowland (205263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339980)

Not to sound to much like a commercial (and hasn't there been enough apple koolaid here recently) but Spotlight [apple.com] in the next release of OS X is right along these same lines. Of course, like all of its software offerings, Apple is using the applications to sell the hardware. That's how they monetize it. Hard to see how Google et al will be able to do the same.

From the source above:

Spotlight blazes through all of your files and applications and displays the results literally as fast as you can type in search words. Instead of waiting to see results after you've hit Enter, you'll see results as soon as you type the very first letter. The powerful Spotlight file indexing process occurs transparently and in the background, so you never experience lag times or slowdowns. And when you make a change, such as adding a new file, receiving an email or entering a new contact, Spotlight updates its index automatically, so search results are always up-to-the-moment accurate, too.

I think this opens up some serious security questions, but those will have to wait until the OS is released later this year.

Re:Spotlight (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343425)

I don't see any reason this opens up any security issues not already present. How does being able to quickly find your stuff make you less secure than when you were fumbling around your oh so clever directory structure or attempting to combine grep and find?

DS phone home? (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340088)

I am wondering if any of these desktop search utilities upload stats to their servers. Since I don't run Windows, I can't download and try these out; but it would be interesting to go over their EULAs with a fine-toothed comb and see what can/cannot be done by these utilities.

ccock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340186)

members' creative di5gust, or been I'm sick of it. can really ask of bunch of retarded balance is struck,

Right.... and wrong (1)

waimate (147056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340352)

BusinessWeek is right - it's a mugs game giving away free software to people who never would have paid for it anyway.

But there is money to be made in desktop search, and we [isys-search.com] and some of our competitors have been doing so for years. The trick is to sell a premium quality product to people who have sufficient need that they're happy to pay a reasonable price for it. Not dumbed-down, feature crippled search software, but a fully-featured, professional, top-shelf product. It's worth paying for, and you know what, it's more fun to produce, too, because your users see the value.

Pimping your product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11341176)

You're pimping your product in every topic about desktop search, aren't you?

Re:Pimping your product (1)

waimate (147056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341877)

It's a discussion about desktop search, and not everyone is managing to distinguish that there's two markets. So yeah, I'm joining the discussion because it's an area we happen to know a little something about. Why is that a bad thing?

the real money is with businesses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11340737)

The article missed the BIGGEST way to make money from search ... developing search tools for corperations.
These desktop search engines are "dry runs" for the real "holy grail" in search - enterprise search!

see http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3 453331

Yet another "must have" nobody cares about. (2, Insightful)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341676)

Ok, show of hands. How many of you running Linux or FreeBSD does NOT have htdig and locate (or FreeBSD variants) already installed? Hmm... Nobody.

Ok, Mac guys. How many, show of hands, don't be shy... How many of you don't use Finder to find things? Nobody. Ok...

Windows guys! Ok, I KNOW you'll be interested. Show of hands, who here doesn't use or know about "find files"? Nobody? Come on, SOMEONE in here must need a new search tool. Anybody? Come on, you're killing me here.

Ok, tough audience. I can roll with that.

Alright, let's pretend for a minute that you DIDN'T have a directory/file search tool installed on your computer. That's DID NOT. OK? Now, show of hands. Who here is willing to install my new tool FindYourCrap, for the low low low price of 29.95, with the understanding that I'll have a few ads running from time to time and you have no expectation of privacy, etc, etc, it's all in the EULA.

What? Nobody? Come ON people! I gave you bagels. Doesn't ANYBODY want some of this?

Fine. FINE! You people are pains in the... Ok, look, I'll tell you what, I've got a line on these condos in Florida...

Desktop search added value (1)

Tincan2k (839706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11341728)

I'm farely well organized and I don't use my desktop search service (shameless plug http://nariva.sf.net/ [sf.net] ) much for finding things that I know are there. One of the real benefits is finding things that are related to things that are there. All Desktop search is is a data mining application for end users. Money probably wouldn't be made from ad revenue but from branding, customization and corporate search services. Search is the key to any good content management system and that is the future of the agile business. Providing it to end users now gives you mindshare when it arrives in the future.

Google Desktop for Non-commercial use (1)

akuma(x86) (224898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342465)

From the Terms and conditions:

Non-commercial Use Only
Google Desktop Search is made available to you for your non-commercial use only. If you want to make commercial use of Google Desktop Search, including but not limited to selling or distributing Google Desktop Search for payment, you must enter into an agreement with Google or obtain Google's written permission in advance.

Therefore, using it in a commercial sense, ie - at you place of work will probably require giving google some money

a foot in the door (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343324)

Free desktop search opens up a lot of possible applications using it to carry part of the load. I would bet these companies have more than a few such in mind. Also, brand/stack loyalty is nothing to sneeze at. Personally I think the better question is whether these desktop search offerings have APIs accessible to third party vendors. Would be start-ups want to know!
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