Desktop search – Google vs. Microsoft

The internet community had felt the need for a desktop search, but the need was never really addressed properly.

Until Google came.
While google didn’t had the first mover advantage (though there were other products like X1,Copernicus, dtsearch, etc..but they hardly had any awareness in the internet community), it was successful in gaining a good share of desktop search market.

I have been using Google desktop search for quite some time, but now I have decided to switch to MS.

And the reasons are pretty simple

a) size,
b) usability
c) performance.

When I got my new laptop, I instantly downloaded GDS and with itcame along all the useless widgets etc. I know I can uninstall all that, but even then I found out that Google eats a lot of space (I used the ToDO widget) and with my harddrive strength of 40GB, google’s desktop folder’s size was 6 GB!!

Now that is ridiculous. I can’t allow a single program to hijack all my comp space.
On the other hand, MS is really considerate in eating my comp space.

Secondly, usability does matter.
MS finds its differentiation point in its ability to integrate their desktop search product with the OS. For example, you can the product to search your outlook mails and have them arranged in a conversational manner (using onfolio toolbar).

MS search results are grouped by doc types (Word doc, XL, PPT etc..) too.

At the same time, Google products are losing their *simple and neat” UI. With every release of their new product/version, Google is cluttering its site/product line too.

(I still believe that Google copied the usability aspect of its desktop search client from Apple and that clearly shows up in the UI, and its completely wrong to say that Google has set a new benchmark in UI).

Third and probably the most important reason: Performance.

MS desktop search does not runs when you are using your computer. What this means is that it doesn’t eat your RAM memory while you are using you are computer and hence there is no performance hit. MS runs/indexes your computer only when its idle.

Also, one can snooze the indexing operation in MS, but Google sets a time limit of 15 minutes.

Other reasons for the switch:
I am worried about security of my personal data. As of now, I do not know whether MS sends out my personal data to its server or not. But I am sure Google does.

Although there is an option to uncheck whether I want Google to send my personal data/index, I still do not trust Google.

Especially with their 3/0 release – which will store my index in Google server and not locally!.

I dont care why Google needs my personal data (for personalizing the ads), but in any case this is not at all acceptable to me.

Also, I am not at all *wowed* with Google widgets. What are they really trying to achieve? Challenge Konfabulator?

Good try but not worth my PC space.

Maybe Google needs to copy more of Mac to be the old-Google (i.e. simplicity).

I have not tried Yahoo desktop search, since Yahoo behaves like a “me-too” company. They tend to copy Google at a very shallow level.

To summarize –
Its good to see some real competition for Google. They have been behaving like a garage company, and now its time for them to do some real thinking before building products.

As far as MS is concerned, I am happy to see that the giant has finally woken up (I liked the much-better hotmail UI, and live too!), and is ready to challenge Google.

In the end, a healthy competition will benefit the community and that’s what I expect from Google and others too.

i.e. Do not be evil.

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