weblog by Urs Gehrig

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06. May 2005

Beagle - Open Source Desktop Search
@ 09:45:44

I have been working with Google and Copernic Desktop Search, as well as with the beta version of the MSN toolbar. Though, I have not yet used the Yahoo Desktop Search. Anyway. As long as there is a gray area (mostly fuzzy privacy policies), what data is exchanged between my the local machine and the Desktop Search service provider on the other side, I wish to have a custom solution. Beagle [1] seems to be an alternative. It is a Lucene based Open Source Desktop Search implementation originally coded for Gnome. Today I found a Windows implementation written by Fredrik Hedberg [2]. You will hear from me, if Beagle works here on Windows ;)


Update - Nat Friedman's post on Beagle [3]:

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05. April 2005

Access to Desktop Search results
@ 22:16:07

Today I run across DNKA [1]:
DNKA is a search tool for remote computers. It acts as a web server by interacting as a layer between Google Desktop Search (GDS) and the user. It allows other users to search, view and download your files, emails, chats and web history.
Basically it is wonderful; you get a full search access to the indexed content of a remote computer. IMHO this application should be filed under "As long as You know what You are doing.". I tried it out in an intranet and got full access to the root drive C:\.

Then later on I found Baagle [2]. The principle is similar to the above but the tools are different. Baagle is a set of Perl scripts wrapped around the search engine Swish-e. Baagle provides a standalone webserver and an indexer. But compared to GDS it is up to you to configure and restrict the indexing to the data directories of your desire.

If you like to figure out a similar solution with PHP have a look at the earlier mentioned nanoweb or nanoserv webserver built with PHP [3] and a Swish-e wrapper written in PHP [4]. Once decided to go for Swish-e (on Windows) you need a couple of tools to handle various file mime types, among others pdftotext, ps2ascii, antiword and one that I found today to convert Excel files to text, called xlhtml. Just for them ;)

Well, now the only thing I could not find is a few lines of code to get a configurable search field to be integrated in the Windows task bar as we know it from GDS. Anyone up with a solution?


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22. October 2004

Googles Desktop Search privacy policy
@ 12:09:57

Read at [1]
What information does Google receive?

By default, Google Desktop Search collects a limited amount of non-personal information from your computer and sends it to Google. This includes summary information, such as the number of searches you do and the time it takes for you to see your results, and application reports we'll use to make the program better. You can opt out of sending this information during the installation process or from the application preferences at any time.

Personally identifying information, such as your name or address, will not be sent to Google without your explicit permission.
The last paragraph seems the tricky one. From reading that sentence it looks as if Google has access or is able to access or/and collect address information on your computer. The term "without your explicit permission" looks like the enduser is only a click away from letting Google effectively use that information. We will probably see/read more in the blogosphere sooner or later. ;)

Update: has just another view of the circumstances; on an OS that only pretends security, there is nothing really protected.


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