I would have thought it impossible to make an animated puppy dog that was not adorable if I weren’t a Windows user. I’m referring to the cartoon dog that’s supposed to keep you entertained while you search your hard drive using Windows Explorer… Anyway, I looked at that not-cute puppy, and suffered the agonizingly slow and inadequate Explorer search function for way too long. Don’t even get me started on searching in Outlook… If you’re still watching the puppy, I can help.
I found a free desktop search app called Exalead Desktop. (I discovered the app recently when I applied for a writing gig at Exalead.) In case you don’t know about desktop search apps, what they do is index the files on your hard drive so that you can perform fast searches and get useful information about your search results. The good ones generally index over 150 file types, including your e-mails and their attachments, and Exalead is a good one.
I read a number of reviews of such apps, and found no mention of Exalead. Maybe that’s because it’s a French company; the anglophone web sometimes seems to be as insular as the US itself… (But the app has been localized into English). It’s certainly not because the app is lacking in any way; it’s at least as powerful and versatile as any of the others, and I found the user interface to be exceptionally intuitive and well organized.
Once you install Exalead Desktop, you interact with it through your browser (as you do with Google Desktop). It never connects to the Internet unless you ask it to, and no indexed information is saved anywhere but on your computer.
It took several hours for Exalead to index the more than 63,000 files on my computer, and when I tested it, I knew I’d never have to see the ugly puppy again. The first time I used it it found what I was looking for in seconds.
The two most popular desktop search apps for PC appear to be Google Desktop and Windows Search 4, a Microsoft product. I wouldn’t use either one of them. I already can’t stand Google Docs or Google Groups. Can’t stand Microsoft. And I’m anti-monopoly.
So if you want to support a French company, give Exalead, which I’ve heard referred to as le Google français, a try.
For more info, read Darrell Etherington’s review of the app on Web Worker Daily.