Monday, December 13, 2004

Google Desktop Search Vs Lookout

I have thousands of files and e-mails that contain information that I might need someday, while before I could use the search feature built into Windows and Outlook separately, they were fairly limited and really slow. If the traditional search methods couldn’t find it, I would just have to look manually. I’m not alone, and there is a clear need for some sort of indexed searching system on the desktop. Two products on the market are designed to do just that, Google’s Desktop Search, and Microsoft’s Lookout.

Google Desktop Search is out in Beta and I have been using it at home for quite a while. It has become a valuable tool for personal use. While I mostly use it to find old E-mails that are in Outlook, its complete desktop index has been helpful as well. It is extremely fast and uses very little system resources to maintain the index. Another good thing about Google is that when I do a Google search on a topic, it also gives me desktop results. Google indexes almost everything, temporary internet files, Microsoft Office and PDF files, AIM conversations, and of course, Outlook e-mail messages. Google Desktop Search is missing one thing, integration with Gmail. Since I use Gmail in the web interface only, my desktop searches don’t always produce results.

Lookout, from Microsoft is centered on Microsoft Outlook; however, it has the ability to index Microsoft Office documents and PDF files. What I really like about lookout is that it puts the search bar right into the Outlook interface, and it has a very Outlook like look and feel. I liked how it asks you during setup where to place the index, since at my office I have a limit of 25 megabytes on my Windows profile, that actually matters to me since the index is already 15 megabytes. The Microsoft Product seems a little slower than its Google competitor, but not by much. The ability to index public folders for Outlook clients connected to Microsoft Exchange is nice. Many organizations have large public folder hierarchies that are difficult to navigate and locate that one piece of information you are looking for.

Google Desktop Search is the better product, in my opinion. It is faster and can index much more information than Lookout. Google’s product is better users who are a little more computer savvy than average, although it doesn’t take a full blown IT geek to understand it. It is probably ideal for anyone that already uses Google’s website for searching. Microsoft’s product seems to fit better in an office environment, where end users vary widely in their computer skills. Since it integrates with Outlook and has the same look and feel, those who use Microsoft Office and Outlook would have a very small learning curve with Lookout. I will continue to use both for now, Lookout at the office, and Google Desktop Search at home.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

Do you know Lookeen??

It better than WDS and LookOut!
Its better than WDS because it is faster and has more accuracy in results.
Its better than LookOut because it is developed and supported, but beside this very similar to LookOut with the same good features, even more!!