Scott Hanselman

Google Desktop Search - I knew they'd get it right

October 14, '04 Comments [14] Posted in Musings
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It's freaking brilliant.  Everyone will blog about it, and will tell you this and that.  So, instead of filling your RSS Reader with the same nonsense, I'll just offer my first impressions about what I found so clever.

  • It sets a Cookie (appears to do it in FireFox as well) that makes DESKTOP appear as a choice when you visit Google.com. 
  • The link to desktop is like: http://127.0.0.1:4664/&s=1444031046.  Notice that it's running a local Web Server on my box at port 4664.  Clever.
  • In installs a few things to C:\program files\google\Google Desktop Search including:
    • GoogleDesktopOffice.dll - To index .DOC, .XLS, etc.
    • GoogleDesktopIE.dll - To index visited sites form your IE cache.  I don't see FireFox being indexed, but it's clear they are using a plugin arch and I suspect we'll see other plugins coming.
  • As most "alpha/beta" Google stuff, it's very polished.  They've really raised the bar on what it means to pre-release software.
  • They've installed an Outlook AddIn, no doubt to get to bypass MAPI and go straight to the Outlook Object Model.  They also appear to directly index Outlook Express files on disk.
  • Your desktop results are INCLUDE with standard Google results.  They appear at the top of the page: "306 results stored on your computer."  It gets an image from your local Google Web Server which is interesting:
       GET /onebox.gif HTTP/1.0
       Accept: */*
       Referer:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=hanselman
       Accept-Language: en-us,es-mx;q=0.7,en-gb;q=0.3
       User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR     2.0.40607)
       Host: 127.0.0.1:4664
       Connection: Keep-Alive
       Pragma: no-cache
  • OY! Google's hooked WinInet.dll I think.  This works in Opera, in FireFox, in anything.  They are grabbing all traffic that goes to Google and injecting their own stuff in the results.   When I launched Opera, I noticed that Google's two networking DLLs loaded in-proc.

It's going to change the world.  Certainly more than Segway. ;) 

Now, I hope they don't try to include Desktop AdSense.

"Looks like you're searching your hard drive for Porn! Try our sponsored links!"

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.