Google on the Desktop

Microsoft to give PCs a little Google, writes the Seattle Times:

As powerful as Google is, its capability stops at our personal computer’s door. I’ve often wished I could “Google” my PC or Macintosh for a bit of information I know is stored on my hard disk, but which I have little hope of tracking down.

It’s true that Windows has a find function. It’s slow, though, and severely limited. The Mac’s Sherlock is faster and better, but still pretty hit-and-miss. Neither platform’s search does well with e-mail, for instance, which is where a lot of the valuable information on a computer resides. E-mail must be searched separately, and its find functions are slow and spotty.

What if there were a Google for all the information on my hard disk? A search function that would rank entries based on the same set of astonishingly intuitive principles that work so well on the Web?

Moreover, if it worked across a home, business or corporate network, Google would be even more useful. If you wanted to get a quick briefing on the progress of a company project, you could just type in the project’s name and voil! Back would come proposals, spreadsheets, memos, e-mail and other valuable data – no matter where they were stored on the network.

If Google wants to maintain its position as the go-to information facility for the New Millennium, it needs to provide this kind of functionality. But right now it can’t. Multiple file formats, naming conventions and the generally kludgy way a computer handles information stand in the way.

Here’s where Longhorn makes things interesting. By standardizing information indexing and retrieval on an open standard XML, or extensible markup language the next-generation Windows promises to make a hard drive and network as easily searchable as the Internet.

Our Thick Server can very easily do this, since everything (mail, docs, appointments) are being stored on the server. Need to see how we can build this.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.