Desktop Search: Copernic & Google

by JL Beeken on 3-06-2007

If you don’t have desktop search software yet, this is a real handy item. A desktop search engine will index every file on your hard-drive and external drives, or any part thereof you choose, and bring up a list of search results faster than you can type in a complete word. They’re extremely useful for finding things on your computer, things you’re looking for or things you don’t know you even have.

If you don’t have desktop search software yet, this is a real handy item. A desktop search engine will index every file on your hard-drive and external drives, or any part thereof you choose, and bring up a list of search results faster than you can type in a complete word. They’re extremely useful for finding things on your computer, things you’re looking for or things you don’t know you even have.

Copernic Desktop Search

Search results include looking inside files for specific words or phrases. And you can open files directly from the results list. Type in “John Smith”, for instance, and have instant access to almost everything on your computer containing that name. As far as I can tell, a desktop search will not index the content of database files such as Legacy and EverNote.

Google Desktop

(Update: now obsolete) is a desktop search engine although you could easily forget that. There’s an optional sidebar that can carry news, weather, web clips, (your choice of rss feeds) a ever-changing parade of personal photos, a notepad, and instant access to email, all on convenient slide-out menus. Up to the second news items, or any other “alert” you have turned on, will float up from the bottom corner of the screen wherever you are. The sidebar and the rest of your desktop can be customized with an array of gadgets like clocks, music players, TV and phone alerts. Google Desktop has a variety of display options and integration with other Google search features like maps, Froogle, Images and so on.

Google Desktop Search

If you like this sort of thing you’ll love it. It will happily take up all your desktop real estate, and most of your time. If you don’t love it, you can turn it off. Past all the flak it’s simply a place to search your files and see the results. Google Desktop will bring up the first 6 results on your desktop, and open your web browser to show you the whole list. Because your browser has to open to display the search results, unless your browser is open all the time, this tends to work more slowly.

Google Desktop

Copernic Desktop Search

If a desktop search engine is your priority, in my opinion,  Copernic is the better choice. It’s simple, uncluttered and straight-forward. It indexes your drive(s) and then sits in the background re-indexing anything that needs to be updated. I never know it’s there until I need it. You can choose to view all search results or just a specific category.

Google, without the circus, does all this too, but the difference with Copernic is that all search results show up in their entirety immediately. It also highlights search terms inside each document for easy viewing and clicking the Find button will jump from one instance to the next.

Copernic Desktop Search

As with Google, you can also access the outside world from Copernic.

Copernic Desktop Search

Clicking on Images, for instance, will open Copernic Search on the web showing image results for your search term.

Copernic Desktop Search

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