Monday, November 15, 2004

Desktop search - give blinkx a try

Over the weekend I completed a long-overdue column for LPM, the ABA magazine I write for. I set out to write about my love affair with Google Desktop, and ended up recommending Google Desktop but raving about blinkx.

Before I get to blinkx, a tip for Google Desktop users: create a folder in Outlook, call it “Google Desktop”, then right-click on the folder and select properties. Click the second tab (labeled Home Page) and you’ll see:

(click for full size image)

Copy in the URL for Google Desktop (it’ll likely be similar to what’s in the screenshot above, but confirm it by double-clicking on the Google Desktop icon in your system tray), make sure “Show home page by default for this folder” is checked, and click “Apply”. Now while you’re in Outlook, you can have Google Desktop appear without leaving the Outlook application. It’s mostly a facade — you’re just rendering a webpage inside of Outlook — but if you start hunting for stuff using Google Desktop a lot, you’ll find it’s a handy way of staying inside of Outlook.

OK, on to blinkx. Unlike Google Desktop, blinkx is a stand-alone application that runs on your PC. In addition to indexing your local files, blinkx extends your desktop by linking you to related materials in various “channels” — news, products, audio/video, and blogs. So while you’re working on a piece of content (could be an e-mail, a blog entry, a Word document, etc.), blinkx appears to tell you what it knows about that’s related.

In an ironic twist, while I was composing the article about Google Desktop and blinkx, blinkx subtly suggested I check out an audio clip it knew about — Paul Boutin’s recent review of… wait for it… Google Desktop on NPR. I love it.

Anyway, I found blinkx as responsive as Google Desktop, slightly more polished in the UI, and though it lacked some e-mail management tools I’d like to see, in general I found it a more powerful search mechanism for your hard drive. Google may end up iterating Google Desktop to match blinkx’s abilities, but for now I’m in love with blinkx. (And I’m not the only one ditching Google Desktop today — Ron Friedmann explained his decision to uninstall it this morning.)

Useless trivia question: who can tell me anything interesting about the URL for Google Desktop?

1 comment:

  1. Read 2.o...yep it darn good.

    Try the smart folders..I set up one and it jsut files new stuff there by itself. I think this is a seriously new way to do stuff..thanks