In this particular article, I have tried to highlight features of various desktop search engines. Current desktop search engines include Google, Yahoo, Windows Desktop Search (WDS), Filehand, X1, Blinkx, HotBot by Lycos, Copernic and Mamma. Mamma is actually powered by copernic. Microsoft did buy out another competitor called Lookout.
If we leave out the search result efficiency then maybe the following will be key points while selecting a particular engine over the other.
Everyone is mad about google products , and I feel is sometimes overhyped , and a perfect example is Google's Desktop Search.
I have used WDS, Google and Copernic. I haven't used the other products listed here.
Google's product is good and perhaps holds the maximum share amongst end-users. But I did like WDS and Copernic. WDS is really good and its memory constraints are similar to that of Google. Copernic on the other hand is really lightweight on memory and cool. It has got options to start indexing when resources are available and similarly automatically stops indexing when your system is short on resources.
While indexing, status messages are most detailed in Copernic.
Good thing about X1 is that it can index certain types of Adobe specific documents like .ai and also index Eudora and Netscape emails. Another vantage point is an active support forum which comes with an RSS feed. This also holds good for HotBot and blinkx.
As for look and feel and interfaces are concerned I think Copernic and WDS scores very highly over google. I won't be able to comment on HotBot, Blinkx or X1.
But WDS has currently a few open bugs. WDS scans outlook mails and uses notifications to communicate and synchronize new mails. It is reported that Outlook 2000 crashes everytime while exiting if WDS is installed. And Outlook 2003 crashes intermittently. I have experienced this personally.
In a few reviews performed by various organizations , I found that they have preferred Copernic and X1. But keep in mind that the surveys that I am talking about were done before WDS was released.
It would be really nice if someone else is able to point out other major differences between the various desktop search engines availabe right now. It might just give a proper insight and help future users to choose the most effective one instead of the most overhyped one.