Google Blogoscoped


RE: Google Desktop Criticism

Brian [PersonRank 0]

Thursday, October 21, 2004
15 years ago

<em>"It hooks up WinInet.dll. Hooking up system level component and intercepting all incoming/outgoing traffic on my machine has nothing to do with my desktop search. (Btw, it's amazing how many antivirus programs Google Desktop is incompatible with because of this) "</em>

They have to do this because the internal windows search does this so poorly. It is actually an insight into the depth and scope that Google has planned for GDS. This is a beta, remember?

<em>"It can be used only by the user that installed it. This means non-admins can't use it. That alone rules it out from my home machine, where admin user is logged only for Windows Updates and application installations. "</em>

How familiar with your windows box are you? If you are the admin just log onto her account and tell GDS to run that program as the admin user.

<em>"It uses the browser as interface. Webpage is probably not the best way to list couple of thousand search results now, does it? "</em>

Apparantly you have never been to

<em>"It uses the browser as interface. That means that any search strings in the Google Desktop will show up in the page if you double-click on the Search for text box and you have Autocomplete for Forms enabled in the browser. "</em>

Sounds like a nice bonus to me. Less typing if I want to then search the web for the same phrase.

<em>"It makes copies of your browser cache without warning me about this or giving me any option to clear its cache as well when I want to clear the browser cache. "</em>

Apparantly you did not read the TOS as you were supposed to.

<em>"It installs as browser extension. Hm, I wonder why that is if it has hooked up WinInet.dll anyway. "</em>

Perhaps it is for later incorporation with the Google Toolbar.

<em>"There is no way to limit the size of the Google Desktop index."</em>

Hardware far surpasses the capability of software.

In conclusion, Goooooogle is our friend, and we need to be cheering them on. No other corporation worth billions of dollars is looking out for our best interest. Maybe it is money in the end, but the way they got started is an important insight not to forget. Google doesn't just have to place the shareholders. They have to please the users, their customers, who they direct to the advertisers, who buy space from the webmasters. Your critique was mostly fallous.

Shannon J Hager [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Brian, this is a joke, right? I chuckled a few times (like when you suggest that not wanting 1,000 results, 10 per page, in a web interface on the desktop means someone hasn't been to, a site that is on the web and thus needs a web interface and that allows up to 100 results per page).

Google Desktop Search has seriously lowered the bar for desktop search. It is hard for people that haven't used a good desktop search product (like Copernic or X1) to understand how bad Google's entry in this field is. Most of my friends have uninstalled GDS and refuse to believe Desktop Search can be great because Google has them believing it isn't even at the "good" point yet.

Maybe that was Google's aim: to make people think Desktop Search is hard to do and not worth the user's time and to keep them from installing a great product like Copernic's Desktop Search.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Shannon, from your experience what do Copernic or X1 have that lets GDS fade in comparison? I'm curious because I don't really know them. I pretty much only know Windows search, and GDS, and I guess against the built-in Windows search pretty much every product shines.

Franci Penov [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

<em>"They have to do this because the internal windows search does this so poorly."</em>

GDS hooks up WinInet.dll because internal Windows Search does what poorly?!

<em>"How familiar with your windows box are you? If you are the admin just log onto her account and tell GDS to run that program as the admin user."</em>

I don't want to run GDS as the admin user. It is a desktop application, it shouldn't need to be run as admin.

Btw, just for the kicks of it, try recommending to somebody running gimp as root on Linux...

<em>"Hardware far surpasses the capability of software."</em>

Umh, that is not true. But even if it was, hardware costs money. I don't think I should have to upgrade my computer for the sake of GD's cache.

Mark [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I use all three of GDS, Copernic and Lookout, where each has their own strong points.

I also initially though that GDS was a weak entrant, but it's power is subtle, and growing on me.

Copernic's strength are its "search as you type" (so it often finds what you need before you have completed the full spelling of the word), and its good results display with items grouped by date ranges etc. On the downside it does seem to use a lot of memory, and I've had it freeze on me occasionally.

Google's strong points are its integration with the web results, and its tiny CPU and memory requirements. The feature that grows on me is its ranking by date last consulted – so docs and emails I've read recently show up at the top of the list. Since I use Mozilla this does not extend to webpages I've recently viewed, since that integration is only with IE.

Lookout's strength is in searching Outlook public folders, and in fact its general integration to Outlook.

Ronnie T. Dodger [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

The cache limit, from what I heard, is set to 2 gigs maximum. I am wondering what will happen when that limit is reached?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

By the way, Lookout crashed on me today. But that was the first time since I use it (which is about two months I suppose). I would switch to GDS for Outlook as well except our System Administrator fears it might clog up the system (i.e. cause a lot of extra network traffic).

I like to have all my desktop search in one place if possible, and I would also like it if GDS would extend to our network shares. Apparently it doesn't (I didn't do any more testing, but I don't remember GDS ever returning anything from a connected share).

Piotr Zgodzinski [PersonRank 4]

15 years ago #

I've been using Copernic Desktop Search for some time and I have to admit I'm very happy with it. It's FAST, stable and does many things that Google Desktop doesn't do (yet).

Nevertheless, I wanted to give the Google Desktop a try. I uninstalled it later the same day. It is a good product itself, but you don't need it if you already have something that is FAR better (Copernic).

Some of the features Copernic has and GDS lacks:

- it indexes attachments
- it presents you two things – a list of found documents, and the preview of currently selected result
- it is not using web interface to display results, so browsing through them is far more convenient and faster
- it starts searching while you are typing, presenting you results even before your query is completed, adding next letter makes the query more precise and less results displayed

and more

try it yourself

Brian [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I posted this initially elsewhere. I feel it makes the privacy concerns of GDS ridiculous:

In most public libraries/terminals you can already access all sensitive information on the hard drive. Sometimes, if you just go in and paste what is on the clipboard you can get people's e-mails. Inbetween users these computers should be completely wiped. How do you access data on a computer that has the run menu disabled and you can't get to the desktop? Easy. Just go to Internet Explorer and enter this into the address bar:

%TEMP% and %TMP% // yeah THIS isn't a security threat.
%SYSTEMROOT% //takes you to the system root
%USERPROFILE% //takes you to the current user profile
%ALLUSERSPROFILE% //takes you to the all users profile
%APPDATA% //takes you to the application data

Now that they have a command prompt they can type in even MORE fun things.


See the following for a list. It's for Windows Server 2003 but it's relevant on most windows systems. GDS isn't even taking full capability of Windows' inherent flaws. ...

PS: whoever the moron above is that said hardware does not surpass software is...a moron.

David Jensen [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I was really looking forward to GDS...

I don't like it.

1. You can't search for part of a filename... so if I have a file called "vacationphoto3.jpg", a search for "vacation" won't find it.

2. The standard google interface just isn't good for searching a local drive. I want to be able to sort by name, size, etc. I also want a find-as-you-type realtime search. One of Google's advantages is pagerank.... this doesn't work with files.

Maybe it GDS is geared more towards people who want to search text inside their own text based documents?

David Jensen [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

3. it is very Microsoft-centric, like most Google stuff. I use Thunderbird for email (well, now I mostly use gmail), and Firefox for the internet.

Amit Agarwal [PersonRank 3]

15 years ago #

Has anyone tried Filehand [] ? It produces Google like search results which can be previewed inline.

Tillman Dickson, Jr. [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Misc: GDS, Copernic, Performance issues...

Caveat: I just started using Copernic.

GDS is slowly growing on me, but I have had to seriously hack the binary (welcome to SoftICE) to get it to begin to be really useful. Even with large amounts of data it still blazes. It has a long ways to go in features and functionality though.

Copernic ROCKS, but it seems to have problems with large HD's. My primary desktop machine is a 3ghz P4HT with 2 gig RAM and 200 and 250 gig drives (totally about 230 gig of files). If the machine has been idle so Copernic has been indexing when I come back to it is two minutes before the machine isn't very sluggish, without Copernic this perfomance lag is 0 – 2 seconds. It is frustrating enough that I may give up on it for this machine :(On my daughter's Semptron 2500 with only 20 gig (only 20 gig isn't that bizarre sounding?) of files it is a nigh perfect tool.

Misc, statistical nonsense:
There was a question earlier about index size maximums, my current MainChunk dir is 3.95 gig total with the keywords file being 2.7 gig of that. If there are issues with indices >2gig that may explain some of my problem.

I am not seeing major memory allocation issues, but I will drop a tool to see if it is badly fragmenting the heap or something. A heap sort htting most of main main memory could account for the lag, but I haven't seen overt evidence of heap frag though I have not directly looked – yet-. Typical memory usage runs ~30 meg with peaks ~300 meg, not bad for an app with >2gig indices & 1.5 million reads / 1.8 million writes (I/O). WM size only runs about 30% over allocated (I don't know its committed yet) memory – again very reasonable.

Get me around this lag issue memory issue and I'd be an evangalist.

I do, however, to expect the next beta release of GDS to be far more capable than the current. Google has done things very well for a long time, they will continue to do so.

George Oakland [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

After not finding some files I was looking for and performing some directed tests, I reached the conclusion that GDS does not index the entire contents of a file.

I have some files that are of moderate size (well, some very large too) that contain technical terms that are near the very end of the file. I cannot find these files with GDS.

I also notice that when I click on the _cached_ link in a GDS result, the cached contents are cut off way before the end of large files. I estimate that the cutoff point is somewhere around 50 KB.

From these two observations I conclude that Google has cut things down to size speed up and simplify indexing, while greatly sacrificing the quality of the search results. I can find no admission of this in Google documentation. My conclusion is based only on my experiments, which anyone can confirm or refute if they test searching of large files as I have.

If you expect to what you are looking for, think carefully about what is the best tool to use. I would not use any desktop search tool that did not expliticly claim to index _every_ word in a file.

Yusuf [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Reading all your views on Copernic Google X1, i have to say copernic is best.
The biggest feature I liked is the 'indexing on the fly' feature. this means that once a file has been modified the index updates itself instantly for that particular file. This means that the changes to the document are reflected straight away and does not mean you have to index the whole drive again.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!