A while back, in Hello GDS, Goodbye YDS I wrote praising Google Desktop Search (GDS) over Yahoo! Desktop Search (YDS) because it didn't work with Thunderbird mailboxes. As you might imagine, I caught a fair amount of shit for this at work.

You can just imagine the arguments, right?

Them: It's coming in the next version.

Me: That doesn't help me now.

Them: Most poeople use Outlook.

Me: I'm not most people.

In other words, my less than popular response was generally along the lines of: "fix your damn product and then we can talk."

Well, it's time to talk! :-)

A week ago I got a beta build of the latest release of YDS. In my testing so far, I've been quite impressed. It indexed all my Thunderbird mail and I set off about searching for stuff that I'd previously used GDS for.

The Good

YDS consistently got me the answer faster than GDS. The type-ahead search (where results change as you type) is excellent. Being able to sort by any column I want (date, size, sender, whatever) speeds things up even more. And the message preview made for fewer clicks ("is this the right message or is it a response to the one I want?")

This made me realize that one of the glaring holes in GDS for me is the assumption that I always want to search my "desktop". The reality is that 95% of the time I simply want to search my email. YDS gets that.

I haven't looked at it yet, but I wonder what it'd take to embed a YDS search box directly in the Thunderbird interface.

The Bad

YDS has many preferences, but it's missing the one I most want: don't index when I'm on battery power. GDS doesn't have that either. As time goes on, I hope more and more vendors make their software laptop aware (that means both power and network connectivity).


I can stop complaining! I have something more than the search built-in Thunderbird for searching my e-mail very quickly. It'll be intersting to see if there are cases where I fall back to using GDS. I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Posted by jzawodn at July 12, 2005 03:00 PM

Reader Comments
# Guillaume said:

Well I just read the announcement on the YSB. I had not reinstalled it since my last format. I'm still amazed at the speed of the indexing.

Now my complain would be Linux support. Mac got their spotlight. Tomorrow I should be installing debian, I saw most of the Yahoo stuff are supported including the messenger...but not this plateform (nor by Google's BTW).
(will I ever be happy anyway...)

on July 12, 2005 04:30 PM
# Adam said:

One thing that'd keep me with GDS: a complete archived history of my Web surfing. Where was that article that mentioned something about European transit and high-speed trains? With GDS I can find it in a snap. To my understanding, GDS is the *only* "desktop" search that offers a searchable full-text archive in this way.

on July 12, 2005 04:43 PM
# Joe Beaulaurier said:

Still no Y! Mail nor Y! Photos support.

And learning from Jeremy:

- That doesn't help me now.
- I'm not most people.
- Support Y! properties with your product and I'll quit complaining.

on July 12, 2005 05:30 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

A lot of people want that feature, trust me. You're *not* alone.

on July 12, 2005 05:40 PM
# Jack said:

Hey Jeremy, have you tried Copernic Desktop Search? That is what I use, and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on it relative to GDS and YDS.

on July 12, 2005 06:32 PM
# Ryan said:

The new YDS will index Thunderbird LOCAL mailboxes but not IMAP mailboxes. Shame on me for having to access work mail from more than one machine.

on July 12, 2005 08:06 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


That's weird--and probably a bug. I'll make sure the right people know.

on July 12, 2005 08:19 PM
# Anonymous Kidder said:

Are you sure you didn't post this just so you could keep your job?

/me ducks and runs

on July 12, 2005 08:20 PM
# Hashim said:

searching my web history is the killer app for me. I use that feature everyday.

It looks like YDS indexes the IE cache but says nothing about Firefox. Sigh.

on July 12, 2005 08:33 PM
# Sushubh said:

errm... using a desktop search application for searching mail? you should try out Opera Mail! Its internal search is awesome. Find as you type! From within the interface :)

on July 12, 2005 08:55 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I'm glad you included the smiley. Because changing email clients is one of the most painful software experiences I can imagine.

on July 12, 2005 08:57 PM
# ed tostanoski said:

not only does imap through thunderbird not work, the IM tab only searches Y! messenger histories....

on July 12, 2005 09:14 PM
# Kyle Brantley said:

You know, you didn't link http://jeremy.zawodny.com/i/yds-mail-sm.png to http://jeremy.zawodny.com/i/yds-mail.png...yet, you linked the prefs...

Just a suggestion :)

on July 12, 2005 11:32 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Damn, you people are observant!

I didn't really want to show off a bunch of message data from my mail archives. But I guess it's not *that* big a deal...

on July 12, 2005 11:58 PM
# Sriram Krishnan said:

You might want to try Windows Desktop Search from desktop.msn.com. It has an option of 'Don't index on battery power'

And it can index Thunderbird mailboxes by downloading an iFilter plugin.

on July 13, 2005 12:59 AM
# goosmurf said:

The two other insanely annoying things about YDS (and the reasons I eventually uninstalled it) are:

1. memory usage: on my setup YDS consistently bloated past 100MB.
2. disk rape

I ended up switching back to Lookout since 99% of my desktop searches are for email anyway.

on July 13, 2005 04:57 AM
# Geodog said:

What about Eudora? I can't think of a technical obstacle. Old and cranky program, but I have 10 years and 2+ GIG of mail archives in it, and don't want to leave.

Also, to Hashem above, if you want to index your web history, you can use the Slogger Extension to Firefox to log it, then YDS should pick it up.

on July 15, 2005 10:41 PM
# Jared said:

Sriram - Wow microsoft is actually ahead of the curve on that! I am even more impressed that it allows you to search thunderbird. I guess it is worth checking into. I wish GDS or YDS had a better way of searching your networked drives. Perhaps some kind of P2P method? The GDS registry hack works so-so as it obviously can't monitor changes to files made on the networked drives by other people. It would be nice if we could setup one on the server and then our local copy could have the option of searching our machine and any other machines that allowed searches to be performed on it. Also it would be nice to have restrictions as to where it searches. A lot of people at the office have archived email on the server so we wouldn't want everyone looking through that but at the same time there are main folders that we would all want to be able to look through. Is this something anyone is consindering adding?

on July 18, 2005 06:10 AM
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