I have hundreds - probably thousands - of documents on my hard drive: letters and other written material (mostly MS Word). Although I try to give them logical filenames and put them into directories according to broad subject matter and time period, I still can’t remember all the details. But I often need to track down a particular bit of information from years back without knowing which document(s) or directory(s) it’s in. So I use the search facility on Windows XP, which allows you to look for a particular word in the content and gives you a cartoon dog with wagging tail to look at while the search is proceeding. But it’s clumsy, slow and imprecise, and it doesn’t have the ‘search logic’ of a WWW search engine.
Is there a way to do a Google-style search of a desktop? If the technology exists to monitor the entire web, there must be a system to do the same for a single PC’s hard drive. (I’m a non-techie, but this occured to me while reading about MS’s ‘Longhorn’ project.)
There’s also blinkx which is based off the Autonomy (concept) search engine.
One differentiating feature is that it doesn’t require you to actively enter a search term, but can send an automatic query of all the text in the active window. It indexes content on your hard drive, (Outlook) mail, and it has also spidered some of the web (it was recently launched and is not as expansive as google).