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  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

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    Subject: How to search your PC with Google Desktop Wednesday 20.10.2004

    How to search your PC with Google  Desktop In this era of Internet, most people are frequent users of computers. Many of us use computers through out the day, accumulating morasses of information in various formats, which include email, digital photo, word document, spreadsheet, presentation file, ebook, article, other downloaded files, music, visited web pages, and many others. We stuff them in multiple folders in our PC. Before we know it, our hard drives become a storeroom of misplaced items. As a result, finding a needed file of information some times become a daunting task!

    The search function integrated to Microsoft Windows is not a big help either. It requires you to know, albeit vaguely, where the file could possibly be located. If your data storage is significant and you made a search on your whole hard disk, it might take ages to get search results and, then again, there is no guarantee that you will find the right file. Frustrating?  Thanks to new Google Desktop Search this is about to change!

    What is Google Desktop Search?

    Google Desktop Search is a free downloadable small program, which will quickly and easily find your files no matter where in your hard disk they are stored. The great thing about this program is by making your computer searchable, this program frees you from having to manually organize and sort your files, emails, and downloads. You no more have to mull over where in your PC the information you are looking for is residing – in your email, files or web pages that you browsed recently.

    At present Google Desktop Search works only with the full text in Outlook and Outlook Express email, text, HTML, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, AOL chat, and Web pages viewed through Internet Explorer. Other files like PDF will be probably added in future version.

    How it works?

    Google Desktop Search is fairly easy to download and set up.  The address for downloading the program is http://desktop.google.com.  Once you installed the program, it begins initial indexing process of your hard disks. This may take several hours for an average size disk.  The one-time indexing process only works when the computer has been idle for more than thirty seconds. Indexing for Google Desktop Search is an ongoing process, new files and emails get updated automatically. The search index created by the program resides on your own computer.

    On your system tray you will see a swirled icon in Google colors, by clicking on it you will open the regular Google search page with the addition of Desktop along side with other search areas. Once the indexing is done, files are searched in under a second and the results are impressively precise. The top bar shows quantities of files found under the four categories, which include emails, files, chat and Web history. The results are shown in much the same way as regular Google interface. You can choose to see relevant results from all or any of the categories. You can also sort results by relevance or by date. By clicking on any result you open the file in respective application software.

    The email query results are the best! No longer have you had to remember in which folder you stored the email written to John in reference to Peter. By searching for Peter or John, you will find all relevant emails and related correspondence. You can read and answer to any of the discovered email from the thread. This really saves time when you need to follow up to a large numbers of emails each day.

    There are two more text buttons next to the search field. One is Desktop Preferences and other is Remove Items. Desktop preferences allow you to choose the types of files you would like the program to include in its index out of available ones. You can also point out not to index specific folders from your hard disk. If you share your PC with others, it’s a good idea to eliminate your private folders from the Desktop index. You can also specify not to index certain websites from your cached web history as well. The Remove items button allow you to eliminate selected results from the index.

    The advance search option allows you to search by phrase by putting the phrase within quotation marks, to eliminate a word from search by putting a minus sign in front of the word, to search by file type, and to search within a web URL. A neat feature is to integrate your desktop search with your web search. This is very handy if you have already done an extensive search for some information and after a few days doing search for similar information once again.

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    Privacy question

    By default, Google Desktop Search collects a limited amount of non-personal information from your computer and sends it to Google. This includes summary information, such as the number of searches you do and the time it takes for you to see your results, etc. You can opt out of sending this information during the installation process or from the Desktop preferences later. According to Google Privacy Policy no personally identifying information, such as your name or address, will be sent to Google without your explicit prior permission.

    What is missing?

    I bemoan not having PDF files in the search process as yet. I have dozens of e-books and PDF whitepapers residing in my PC, and I really would prefer to have them indexed. That way, I’d have been able to read materials, when I needed them most.

    The other thing I want to see is clustered result of my query, which shows organized search results into meaningful hierarchical folders similar to the way Vivisimo search engine works. This clustering is particularly helpful for desktop search, as this allows us to see other relevant documents connected to the searched word.

    Conclusion

    Due to Google’s immense popularity as a search engine, it’s logical that most users will prefer Google’s desktop search program as oppose to other similar programs, such as Copernic and Hotbot.  Finally you can search your very own computer with similar ease and preciseness as you have been searching the Internet for quite some time.

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