Wired News Looks At Spotlight

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If youive read coverage of World Wide Developeris Conference keynote, you might have come away thinking that this yearis event was all about big monitors and the controversy surrounding Dashboard. Those who were in attendance, however, know that this WWDC was about much more, including a lot of the developer-oriented features that will be included in Tiger. One of the other announced features is a search technology called Spotlight.

Leander Kahney of Wired News has an article that offers some insight concerning Spotlight and the need to search for data stored in your computeris hard drive. From the article:

David Karger, a Computer Science professor at MIT, said search engines capable of searching the entire contents of a hard drive are long overdue.

"Itis about time," he said. "Itis not an exciting new idea. Itis something thatis been needed for a long time.... I do think itis ridiculous itis taken this long."

Karger, the head of MITis Haystack project, an information management tool with an emphasis on search, noted that users can perform brute-force searches of hard drives, but they are painfully slow. He had no explanation why it has taken Apple and Microsoft so long. "This is one of the mysteries for me," he said. "Itis not that hard and so obviously useful."

Karger predicted search will become central to computer interaction, but implementation will be key. "The question is whether it can be done easily enough," he said. "The devil is in the user interface details."

Ken Bereskin, Appleis director of Mac OS X product marketing, said Spotlight has been a couple of years in development -- before Panther -- and incorporates several complex system technologies. Bereskin said the system was inspired by the speedy search engine in iTunes, which instantly returns results as soon as the user starts typing: whether the match is in the songis title, album, genre or artist fields.

Thereis much more in the full article at Wired News, and we recommend it as an interesting read.

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