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Google Desktop as a development tool

by jacques (Priest)
on Dec 05, 2004 at 07:26 UTC ( #412467=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Lately, I have been using Google's Desktop Search, Google's new search engine for your PC, a lot in my development. It's fast as lightening and very accurate. Most often, I use it to grep source code, like the Perl and PHP source.

Helpfully, it also keeps caches of older versions of my files. For example, the other night I needed to look up a snippet of Perl code, but I forgot which file I put it in. So I fired up the desktop search and found the snippet in one of 37 caches that Google Desktop kept on a constantly changing file. That's right, 37!

How are the rest of you using it?

Last night I even had a dream about the desktop search...

I was back in college and installed it on my PC under a drive that was mapped to the main Unix machine that everyone used. Wouldn't you know?: Google Desktop indexed everyone's Unix account, allowing me to see everybody's files, including pictures of this one graduate student I liked. I never thought I would get to see them!

(For those of you who don't know: Google Desktop can index files under all user accounts on your PC. This feature has caused some privacy concerns.)

Sadly, the desktop search only works on Windows. No Mac or Linux version is available yet. So it was only a dream. ;-)

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Google Desktop as a development tool
by dpavlin (Friar) on Dec 05, 2004 at 12:30 UTC
    I also had a need for Google Desktop-like tool on Linux. You could build your own using swish-e or Xapian which both have perl-friendly API.

    But you don't need to. For almost a year, there is great personal search engine called Estraier which I'm testing for a while and I'm impressed.

    It has vector model, clustering of results and many filter scripts for input format (doc, xls, ppt, etc..). Output is friendly to parsing (there is special command which produce XML output), and even includes cgi script which can merge multiple indexes into single search (for example your e-mail and documents which are in separate index files). Writing perl to exercise indexer is left as a exercise to YAPH.


    2share!2flame...
Re: Google Desktop as a development tool
by b10m (Vicar) on Dec 05, 2004 at 09:03 UTC

    All I have heard so far about the Google Desktop Search, had something to do with security, or better yet, the lack of it. But it's nice to see you found use for it. I don't work on Windows machines enough to really look at it, but when as far as I know, there are nice substitutes that do not compromise your computer's security:

    Most often, I use it to grep source code, like the Perl and PHP source.

    I believe the Windows 'Find' (or whatever it is called) can 'grep' somewhat too, but if you need more control, there's of course always 'the real grep' in UnxUtils

    Helpfully, it also keeps caches of older versions of my files.

    Cache is not backup. A simple SVN, CVS, whatever revision control will do a better job -I think.

    Last night I even had a dream about the desktop search...

    Find some help, please ;)

    (For those of you who don't know: Google Desktop can index files under all user accounts on your PC. This feature has caused some privacy concerns.)

    I'm not sure how the Google stuff works exactly, but I find it hard to believe it takes over (hijacks) any account and uses that. You are saying you get access to files you usually do not have access to and you have a mere mortal user account (no 'root', 'administrator', 'whatever windows calls it')?

    --
    b10m

    All code is usually tested, but rarely trusted.
      Google desktop keeps coming up security wise. The truth is, it's not so insecure. It's insecure when you share profiles or don't have your home directory read only to yourself. The data files get stored in your home dir, so if it's accessible to anyone else, especially if you share your accounts, naturally, google desktop will use that one index.

      ----
      Then B.I. said, "Hov' remind yourself nobody built like you, you designed yourself"

      My company made me remove GDS because of the security myth. The thing is all it indexes is everything you already have access to. The risk is that it makes it alot easier to find. I bet if google installs a remote query feature my company would want it installed so they could query what I'm up to all the time.

      They wont find anything, but it is annoying.
Re: Google Desktop as a development tool
by prostoalex (Scribe) on Dec 05, 2004 at 21:30 UTC
    The security blame in this case is not really an uneducated one. The operating system provides weak security restraints for accounts, and you're blaming the application?

    Please. If you install Google Desktop Search as an admin, it will have administrative privileges. Your dream analogy with Unix would not work, because on Unix account you'd probably install it as a user, and thus it would have the same permissions as you do.

    People get hung up on the idea of this application suddenly discovering everything on the hard drive, but they forget, that such activity would be possible with any similar app, whether it comes from Google or not.

      you're blaming the application

      What in the world?

      I tried to install Google Desktop Search on Win2000 and it said To install or run Google Destop Search you need administrator access on this computer. Please try installing again once you have administrator access. Ok, so I ran the installer as Administrator and everything worked. But the problem is that now it will only run as administrator, which is extremely annoying and insecure. I've heard anectdotes of people running it as a regular user, but I haven't been able to do that yet.
        update for clarity: answer to immediate parent, how to install for multi-users is outside the scope of Perl Monks -- eg, not perl related.

        However, you can find out how to install a program in W2k, as admin, for all users, in the series of dialogues used in the install process.

        If you wish to learn, try uninstalling and then watch options in the install dialogue carefully

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