Desktop search is a software application which searches the contents of computer files, rather than searching the internet. The purpose of this software is to enable the user to locate information on their computer. Typically, this data includes emails, chat logs, documents, contact lists, graphics files, as well as multimedia files including video and audio.
Searching a hard disk can be painfully slow, especially bearing in mind the large storage capacities of modern hard disks. To ensure considerably better performance, desktop search engines build and maintain an index database. Populating this database is a system intensive activity. Consequently, desktop search engines will carry out indexing when the computer is not being used.
One of the key benefits of this type of software is that it allows the user to locate data stored on their hard disk almost instantaneously. They are designed to be fast. They are not integrated with a different application, such as a file manager.
Such software performs in a similar way to Windows Search and Spotlight in Mac OS X. All of the applications featured in this article are released under a freely distributable license.
When we originally published this article we deliberately excluded Baloo. It’s the file indexing and file search framework for KDE Plasma, with a focus on providing a very small memory footprint along with with extremely fast searching. Baloo is integrated with KDE Plasma, whereas the other software featured here can be with or without a specific desktop environment.
Let’s explore the 7 desktop search engines at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.
|Desktop Search Engines|
|Recoll||Desktop search tool with full text search. Based on the Xapian search engine|
|Tracker||Fiesystem indexer, metadata storage system and search tool|
|Baloo||KDE's file indexing and search solution|
|DocFetcher||Fast document search with this desktop search software|
|Terrier||Flexible, efficient, and effective search engine|
|Searchmonkey||Java desktop search engine|
|Pinot||Personal search and metasearch|
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