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Monday, December 13, 2004

MSN Toolbar Suite vs. Google Desktop Search

While I wait for indexing to complete, here's a comparison of the MSN Toolbar Suite vs. Google Deskbar / Toolbar / Desktop Search:

What Google has that MSN doesn't:
Deskbar has custom searches and API
Indexes AIM convesations and Internet Explorer History
Has buttons for special searches, as opposed to only drop-down selection.
PageRank display
Advanced Google options (cache, translate, backlinks)
Can index Hotmail

What MSN has that Google doesn't:
All the products are integrated, rather than a strange collection of disparate products
Can run Desktop Search from Toolbar and from Windows Explorer
Local Search
Mail notifier
IM status
Go to my MSN Space
More Form Fill options
Highlight search terms
Indexes lots of file types (including PDFs) and metadata

Did I miss any?


Blogger Amit Agarwal said...

I am still trying to figure out what filetypes this tool can index ?

Amit @ Desktop Search Blog

1:11 AM  
Blogger Nathan Weinberg said...

Well, it indexes all files, and all metadata. Near as I can tell, it can read the contents of:

Most text documents
PDF (with plugin)

If anyone can find a full list, I could really use it.

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually MSN can index Internet Explorer History and Hotmail/Web Based Email under Index Options > Specific Locations

Personally, MSN is more secure than Google for a couple of reasons:
1. MSN does not Cache your indexed searches,
2. By default, MSN does not index Internet Explorer History and Web Based Email

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to add that MSN can index your Mapped Network drives also under Index Options > Specific Locations.

Google will index those items only if you open them manually.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Nathan Weinberg said...

Interesting. But how can I add my web index if it doesn't show me hidden folders? Although I could try typing a bunch of folder paths by hand, that is going to drive me nuts. And how can it index Hotmail?

Still, even with indexing the IE cache folder, that is still not as good (if you like it) as Google's. As soon as I clear the cache (which I have to do every time IE messes something up) I lose the ability to search any of that lost data. Google actually indexes and caches it, something that has saved my butt a few times already. I'm hoping MSN adds that functionality in the future.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. MSN does not index hidden folders even if you type in the path.
I still like the fact that MSN does not cache its indexed searches (because of security on a shared computer). However, if MSN does decide to include this, I hope that feature can be disabled.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google Desktop can search within PDF files ever since the very first start. All others files type what MSN can can Google too (Office, Mail, and Web).
What I am missing most of Google (as well as MSN Toolbar) is the facts of some global control elements, i.e. something to remove all the old cached versions or control how much old versions I want to keep per default. Another most wish item is the support for other browsers (like Opera) and a more expanded spectrum of file formats. However, sure the top most problem of Google now is privacy and adapted result set on user basis. One can neither install multi-instances of Google Desktop simultaneously nor use a shared install. Hence for multi-user machine is Google Desktop for now almost useless.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what google can not index is a scanned file in tiff in which ocr has been performed ?? can any one update me

4:41 PM  

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