First on TMO - Google Clarifies CEO Comment on Mac Desktop Search; Reuters' Errors

by , 10:00 AM EST, November 4th, 2004

Did he say it or did he not? He did not, according to a Google spokesman.

We're talking about comments reportedly made by Google, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt last Friday in which a Reuters reporter claims he said the search engine company would definitely release a Mac version of its Google Desktop indexing program.

"I can't comment on what the Reuters reporter heard or reported, but I can clear up any confusion by saying now that Google has not announced or decided one way or another on developing Google Desktop for the Mac," company spokesman Nathan Tyler told The Mac Observer Wednesday.

Mr. Tyler said the company's policy on Google Desktop for the Mac has not changed since its original statement made exclusively to TMO on October 19. It was then that Mr. Riley said, "we haven't ruled out a Mac version for the future. Our plan is to perfect the product in its current state, then consider options for other platforms like the Mac at that time."

"That statement has not changed," Mr. Riley said Wednesday. "It is too early to make a statement as to whether a Mac version of this product will become reality and (Mr. Schmidt) did not say it was a definite."

Mr. Schmidt made comments at a University of California-Los Angeles conference commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Internet. It was there that Reuters reporter claims to have heard him promise a Mac version of the product. "We intend to do it," Mr. Schmidt was reported to have said. He said Google Desktop would have to built from scratch for the Mac and that because of that, he could not give a time frame on the products release.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt never promised a Mac version of its Desktop search program would be developed, a company spokesman told TMO.

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, was at the event and also questioned exactly what the Reuters reporter heard.

"I'm the one who asked (Mr. Schmidt) the question at his talk about whether we'd expect a Mac version of Google desktop, and I have to say I didn't read his response at all the way the Reuters reporter did," Mr. O'Reilly wrote on his personal blog. "He was fairly equivocal, saying that it was a hard problem, requiring a whole separate project, not just a port, because of the differences in the operating systems. He made no announcement of actual plans to deliver the product, or even that Google was actively working on it."

A Reuters spokesman did not return repeated phone calls from TMO seeking comment or further explanation on the matter.

A free preview version of the program was released in early October for Windows-based personal computers only. The 400 kilobyte applet scans and indexes the computer's hard drive for a variety of common file formats, such as Microsoft Office documents, America Online Instant Messenger chat files, as well as plain text and HTML files on a hard drive. Every word in these files is indexed so that a user can search his or her own files in much the same way someone would search for Web pages on Google. Google Desktop Search uses the browser user interface, and adds a tab to the Google home page.

Much of the functionality of Google Desktop has already been promised by Apple in the next version of Mac OS X, code named 'Tiger'. The new search technology, called Spotlight, will enable users to search for any information, file or document or information on their Mac. Modeled after the search capabilities of Apple's iTunes music application, Spotlight will find e-mails, presentations, images, appointments, Microsoft Office documents and more, arranging its search results by kind, time or people.

Spotlight will also let users create customized folders, playlists, mailboxes and groups that work in the Finder and with individual applications to automatically keep content organized and updated.