Google Desktop Search goes “live” and will press into corporate desktops
By Charlene Li
In what seems like record time, Google moved its new Google Desktop Search (GDS) out of beta today, after an introduction last October (see my initial comments here). The latest release has a couple of noteworthy new features:
- New file types. PDFs are now searchable, as are MP3s and video files.
- GDS is now accessible via the Google Deskbar, and can even be “undocked” and placed anywhere on the desktop.
- Password protected Office files won’t be indexed
- A software developer’s kit (SDK) is being made available to create new plug-ins to GDS
There are two significant implications from this announcement. First, the SDK will allow software developers to create extensions for GDS. Taking a page from Firefox, GDS won’t try to be everything to everyone – it simply can’t do it. Instead, it will allow developers to create plug-ins based on specifics needs. Want to search MSN Messenger chat sessions? Write a plug-in for it. Submit it to Google and if it “passes” their review, they’ll post it on the official GDS site for others to use. What it means: You know those 225+ searchable file types touted by Yahoo! and its partner, X1? GDS with the SDK will blow it away, limited only by the creativity of the developer community.
Second, moving quickly out of beta allows Google to move quickly into the corporate desktop space. In much the same way that companies installed Google Toolbar at the behest of employees clamoring for pop-up ad blockers, employees are asking for desktop search tools as well. But most company IT departments have a standing rule not to install beta software. Now that GDS is “official”, IT will seriously look at making GDS a standard installation.
While GDS lacks an enterprise tool set for now, I expect that Google will release one soon. In the meantime, IT departments should take a very close look at the presets for GDS, especially its ability to index Web histories, chat conversations, and older versions of documents. Some companies may not want that information archived and thus, “discoverable”. IT departments may feel pressured to make GDS generally available, but until they can easily install it with appropriate setting, clear guidelines and instructions on GDS settings should be issued.