Spotlight Could Kill the Finder, Wired News Says

Wired News features a report that explains how the Spotlight search function in Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" could eventually displace the Finder that has been a major part of the Mac operating system for over 20 years. Writers Abby Christopher and Mike Faden quote Frog Design Creative Director Cordell Ratzlaff, who said: "The Finder has been dying for a long time. As hard drives have grown in size and the number of files people have on their computers has increased, the Finder has become less useful."

Spotlight relies on filesi metadata, as well as their actual content, to quickly find whatis relevant to a search query. And Smart Folders enable users to create a persistent query that constantly updates, finding, for example, all files and folders pertaining to a particular project and grouping them together without the user needing to run the search again. Spotlight has been compared to Googleis desktop search tool; Ratzlaff expects both to hasten the Finderis demise, perhaps as early as Mac OS XI (11).

"iTunes and iPhoto provide immersive environments to allow users to better manage their music and photo files," Ratzlaff told Ms. Christopher and Mr. Faden. "Both of these developments are indications that the Finder is not meeting peopleis needs." Apple employee Wiley Hodges, however, told the writers that "[the Finder] is still an extremely familiar metaphor thatis logical, putting related and relevant data into folders. Spotlight extends the Finder with queries for frequently used folders."

And Frog Design Vice-President of Digital media Mark Rolston agreed with Apple. "We tend to organize data by hierarchical folder," he said. "But we may want to view the data many different ways, organized by different criteria, often through ad-hoc searches.... These new search tools offer multiple ways to find things according to changing context."