Friday, October 15, 2004

Looking for Something?

Search; I've never really paid that much attention to it in the past, but I'm starting to realize how important it is. When you think of search you probably think Google but I'm not talking about searching the Web. I want to search my local LAN!

I've calculated that I have roughly 30gb of data stored on my LAN that I want to search through; that's a lot of time waiting on that Windows XP little dog to dig and wag it's darn tail and Outlook isn't much better!

I needed something faster, something Google fast.

Naturally, I checked out the beta of Google's Desktop Search. As expected, Google fast, but here's what I don't like about it (although it is in beta):

  • You have to open IE to search your hard drive (why can't you just search from the task bar?)

  • It only searches your local machine, not the entire LAN, this is big for me, since I have a server to search!

  • Finally, the privacy statement about what they search on your hard drive is a little skimpy, what do they actually consider private?

I still haven't found the exact tool I'm looking for (I feel like a Jedi: "This isn't the tool you're looking for"), but there is something close! A plug-in for Outlook called Lookout.

This plug in requires Outlook 2000 or later, which is the bad part (wish it just sat in the task bar). The other bad part is it doesn't search the web. The good news is, you get lightning fast searches of email, local documents, shared documents (UNC), SharePoint and public folders! Moreover, it keeps all the documents, emails, contacts, etc intact so you can still use them in their respective form. Double click on the item and it'll open in Word, or Excel, or Outlook, just like you're used to.

Other than having to open Outlook & the lack of searching the web; Lookout Rocks.

Please be sure to read the comments of this post. Apparently I didn't learn all the features of the Google Desktop before expressing my opinion. Moreover, I have modified this post to reflect any miss-conceptions. Thank you to my readers for clearing up the confusion.


Anonymous said...

Lookout didn't work the last time I trialed it. It indexed my Mailbox and Archive but would not link correctly back to the archived content, when I clicked on the search results. It was removed after failing several times. Google Search on the other hand scanned the contents and can quickly call up anything on my desktop.

Contrary to what you say. Gogle desktop does allow you to open the document and outlook items in their native format.

Lookout has been purchased by Microsoft so things may get better but the better desktop search engine (in Beta) at present is still Google.

Anonymous said...

"# The search doesn't span web and desktop, you can choose one or the other"

Actually it does - do a regular search at, and it searches your local index too, transparently and quickly. It's by far the neatest thing about google desktop.

Sushubh said...

you cannot search the networks coz perhaps google sells applications for intranet search engines...

Anonymous said...

"Viewing mail changes the mail messages into web format, so you can't deal with it as a mail message anymore..." ...
-Yes you can, just click the "View in Outlook" link. duh.

"Viewing docs is the same as above"
- that's just not true

Anonymous said...

x1 is better

Anonymous said...

Here's a great tool to search your desktop and LAN for files:

It does not search file content but that's ok by me because I find that with web searches and desktop content searches I spend too much time putting together the set of keywords that will actually get the result I really want near the top of the results list!

This tool I'm recommending learns what documents you use most often and lists them first! You've got to try it to believe it.


Anonymous said... retriever has been the best search tool for email, email archives, local and LAN files that I have encountered. Unfortunately they have gone to an enterprise version and do not seem to offer their stand alone consumer version anymore.

Sean Daniel said...

This article appeared in the Seattle PI! :)

Click here to view the article

Anonymous said...

You can search from your task bar. Just right click on your taskbar and add the new Google search bar.

Mike Gormez

Sean Daniel said...

Yep, I know, but the MSN Search bar is much cooler IMO.

Chris. M. said...

Since LookOut was bought by MS and isn´t developed anymore it is sensless to work with it...ok you can get that it works with outlook 07 and vista, but this is very complicated and also when you get that you can´t search and find the new file format like docx, xlsx, pptx...
An alternative to LookOut: Lookeen
As fast as Lookout even faster, reliable and especially developed!!