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Google Desktop Search is updated - You can't ignore it


Google Desktop Search is now off the beta stage and it seems that it might leave the rivals far behind. The first beta version of GDS was released just a few months ago and probably due to heavy competition from MSN and Yahoo, Google had to release an updated version so soon. Other popular Google programs like Picasa, GMail or GoogleGroups 2 are still in beta stage.

I am personally very excited about GDS 1.0 release as now I can search CHM help files, PDF files, scanned documents and intranet websites using third party plug-ins. These two items were on top of my wishlist - What is missing in Desktop Search Tools.

There are a host of other plug-ins for Files, Images, Email and Web History.

It is easier to access via a deskbar on your desktop. And there are new security options to prevent indexing of password-protected Office files. Earlier, Google was under fire as has warned that companies shouldn't use the new Google Desktop Search tool because of security concerns and a lack of features.

Google allows people to block indexing of secure Web sites. Google automatically indexes all web pages you've viewed and stores them in a cache on your hard drive. It support all the popular browsers like IE, Netscape 7+, Mozilla and Firefox browsers.

You can now search for PDF files, Multimedia files, including audio (MP3, WMA, WAVand more), images (JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP and more), and videos (AVI, MPG, WMV, and more), by meta-tag. For instance, you can search by song title or artist name, web pages you've viewed using the Netscape 7+, Mozilla and Firefox browsers and Email from Netscape Mail, Mozilla Mail and Thunderbird. You can add more file types by writing your own plug-ins. GDS includes a software developers kit SDK, so that outsiders can build new search plug-ins. Already, Google has built a plug-in to search conversations in chat software Trillian.

Google Desktop Search which is now available in Chinese, and Korean also can be downloaded here. The download is only about 700K and will take a few seconds over broadband or about 2 minutes over a typical modem.

I found the following two plug-ins most important for my work.

1. ScanSoft OmniPage Search Indexer enables you to search text found in image files using world-leading optical character recognition (OCR) technology. For example, it enables you to search the text found in electronic fax documents that you may receive via email, as well as other image formats including PDF, TIF, JPG, BMP, and Paperport.

2. Kongulo plugin is a web spider that crawls websites you specify and makes them searchable via GDS. Kongulo follows links in HTML frame, image and anchor tags. It obeys robots.txt and knows basic and digest HTTP authentication. It can be run continuously, checking for updates to previously crawled pages, and uses the If-Modified-Since HTTP header to minimize transfers when doing so.