A Few Thoughts About Yahoo Desktop Search

As Chris wrote about for SearchDay, Yahoo has just released their desktop search app. I've had a chance to use the latest entry in the desktop search wars and have a few random comments and constructive critcisims to share based on a version of YDS that the company shared with me last week. Let's remember that today's release is a "living" beta. (-:

+ I'm surprised that with Yahoo! doing so much work with syndicated feeds that they didn't what to differentiate their product (important these days) from the outset with the ability to aggregate and keyword search feeds. In other words, toss an RSS aggregator into the app.

+ Partial words show up in results when they shouldn't be there. For example, when I search my hard drive for "Chris Sherman" AND "News", YDS considers "news" in "newsletter" a hit. Searching for shop (without "") shows pages containing the word "shopping" as hits. Searching for the name "Don" (with quotation marks) shows "don't" and "done" as hits.

+ It would be useful if future releases would allow you to view and if needed, rerun previous searches via a pull-down option below the search box. Interestingly, previous queries are visible when searching from the deskbar (yes, Yahoo! search offers a deskbar) but not from the app itself.

+ PDF gripe. With other desktop search apps you can quickly view the preview version of a PDF and then cut and paste the text (in ASCII) into a document. This is not possible with YDS. However, you can cut and paste other document types.

+ The YDS download is larger than similar apps coming in at about seven MB. Google Desktop Search is less than 1MB and Copernic's tool is about 2MB. The Jeeves app is also a very small download.

+ A feature to remove not have certain directories and filetypes (YDS indexes an impressive 200+ file types) indexed is available but it needs to be more visible under the options header. It would also be helpful, IMHO, if you were asked what you want and don't want indexed when you first install the product.

+ Eudora and Netscape Mail users stay tuned. At the moment YDS doesn't allow you to search mail if you use these mail apps. The native X1 app does offer this capability. I'm betting Yahoo! has plans to adds these options soon.

+ A link to search the Yahoo web database is included in the YDS app. However, it opens opens a web browser window and does not integrate results into the preview pane. Better desktop/web search integration would make help the searcher save time when simply reviewing result lists.

+ Fast Fact: When searching with Boolean connectors AND, OR, and NOT need to be in upper case, otherwise they're considered search terms. Overall, Yahoo Desktop offers many advanced search features.

+ I agree with Chris, it would be useful if YDS would offer an option to index and make searchable a permanent cache of every page that is viewed in your browser.