Why desktop search?

There’s a whole pile of pundits foaming on about the new MSN Deskbar. Robert Scoble, ever the super-marketing guy, has a fairly good rundown on the current opinions, most of which seem to be focussed on the relative performance of the desktop search component versus Google’s attempts.

I was initially going to install this thing and give it a crack, but I was (a) put off by the demand that I must use Internet Explorer to meet ‘minimum requirements’ (whiskey tango foxtrot!?), and (b) have never, ever found a need for desktop search. I dunno, perhaps it is just me, but I don’t lose files. I just don’t. I mean come on people, what the heck are you doing? Dumping all your documents into one giant folder, or are you just slapping them straight in the root of C:?

It’s not like it is a hard thing to organise files. I work in software development, doing mainly project-based work. Code goes into the source control system under some intelligent project name; docs, specs, diagrams, etc. go into a folder for the project under the folder for the client. Done. Am I too narrow-minded to see other scenarios?

Just sort your damn files you lazy buggers!

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6 Replies to “Why desktop search?”

  1. Personally I find the whole file->folder hierachy model a bit archaic these days. I’ve always felt there had to be a better scheme…and there’s already some interesting alternates on the web…

  2. I suppose so. I quite like Outlook 2003’s ‘search folders’. I’m positive they’re not a new thing (after all, this is Microsoft we’re talking about), but basically they’re dynamic folders based on criteria you assign. E.g. you can have a folder called ‘Current Project X’ which shows all messages newer than one month old and categorised as ‘project X’.

    I’d like to see the same thing for files. You could assign properties to a file based on its contents, or manually assign categories to files. Then you could set up dynamic folders to display files based on criteria. This way a file assigned to more than one category could appear in a couple of relevant folders. Tr?s useful for those reference files you use for several different projects.

  3. after all, this is Microsoft we’re talking about), but basically they’re dynamic folders based on criteria you assign. E.g. you can have a folder called ‘Current Project X’ which shows all messages newer than one month old and categorised as ‘project X’.

    I’d like to see the same thing for files. You could assign properties to a file based on its contents, or manually assign categories to files. Then you could set up dynamic folders to display files based on criteria. This way a file assigned to more than one category could appear in a couple of relevant folders. Tr?s useful for those reference files you use for several different projects.

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