Simon’s Backup Weblog


Rethinking search

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 21, 2006

I have something of a love/hate relationship with desktop search tools.

They’re something I need – often desperately, but I just can’t get on with their user interfaces. They’re all the same, just variations on the old folder view. If I wanted that, I’d be using Vista’s library views or spending my time working with Mac OS X’s Spotlight. Instead, I’m after something that will find contextual links between my various emails and documents, and help me find the most relevant file.

Blinkx comes close to doing what I want, but that final step is a gaping chasm, and “almost” is worse than “not at all”. So at the moment I’m using an unholy mix of Lookout and Yahoo! Desktop Search. Two tools that together give me a semblance of what I’m after. But I’m considering dropping them both for Windows Desktop Search, thanks to PHLAT.

PHLAT is a new interface for Windows Desktop Search (enabling search through a user’s own email, files, and viewed web pages). PHLAT lets you easily specify queries and filters, attempting to integrate search and browse in one intuitive interface. In addition, Phlat supports a unified tagging (labeling) scheme for organizing personal content across storage systems (files, email, etc.).

It’s the closest I’ve seen to the UI I want – and it gives me the ability to add my own tag-based folksonomy to my files, providing me with my own metadata for my own files. Worth giving a spin, I think…

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6 Responses to 'Rethinking search'

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  1. ajshepherd said,

    Where do they get these names from?

  2. marypcb said,

    he wanted to flatten hierarchies of folders. My MSc project was ScARF.

  3. autopope said,

    On the Mac, have you run across DEVONThink Pro?

  4. beans0510 said,

    Dear Sbisson,

    I don’t mean to make an ad on your blog, but after read your “rethinking search”, I think perhaps this new search engine would be helpful to your search: http://www.openfind.com/oes

    I also used WDS…

    I would be happy if it helps, and look forward to your comments.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Beans.

  5. therealdrhyde said,

    Sounds like you want the Autonomy desktop search thing from several years ago. Unfortunately it was only available for Windows, which I don’t use, so I never kept a copy, but it might still be available.

  6. anonymous said,

    I was using Watson to beef up my MS Desktop search, but it’s much like the Blinkx tool. This looks more capable.

    – Danny B.


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