Distributed Desktop Searching

Google’s mistake means everyone wins! And a few more people lose.

One of the biggest problems plaguing the business world is the unwillingness of people to contribute to group knowledge systems. Plenty of products are built to share information between coworkers, like Lotus Notes, where users must add their documents to the system or nobody will never know about them. But users are lazy, so they either never add those documents, or put them in the wrong place, or don’t follow all the processes making the document inaccessible or unusable. These systems often cost lots of money, don’t work as well as they claim, and require non-intuitive methods for getting their so-called benefits

And then Google came out with their desktop search tool. Before you could say “hack this,” someone found a way to make those searches remotely. Now as irresponsible as I think Google is for throwing technology like that to the world, there could be an upside.

Most interesting documents never leave people’s PCs, and most groupware solutions have crappy search interfaces. So here’s my idea — distributed desktop searching. Install Google’s search tool on everyone’s PC, then install the remote search tool. Make a application that will take a search string, send the query to the PCs with the remote Google search tool, then assemble the results on a nice page. With the results, you can go to that person for the document or, even easier, click a resulting link and get the document yourself. This could put all those crappy groupware companies out of business and actually get you the files you need from your coworker’s PCs.

Since Google’s and presumably Yahoo’s and Microsoft’s will all be free, what will this mean for companies who depend on disorganization and the inability to find information for their business? I’m talking about groupware companies, consultants, IT managers, SIMS Masters graduates…

It’s just an idea… the first of many I’ll put here. Feel free to ignore it.

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