About six years ago, Seattle-based Perkins Coie deployed desktop search software from ISYS. Part of the firms attraction to a specialized tool was the ability to customize the engine, Driggers said.
For example, the firm uses a document numbering system that makes extensive use of embedded punctuation in the numbering scheme. Typical Web search engines treat such punctuation as a space rather than recognizing the number scheme, Driggers said.
"Theres no way that you can customize those sorts of things with these generically delivered desktop search products," Driggers said.
A report released in April from the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium ranked desktop search tools. (Download the PDF here.) The top three overall were from Copernic Technologies Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Wizetech Software. But when ranked based on enterprise readiness, Copernic, ISYS and Yahoo topped the list. For enterprises, Copernics desktop search technology is part of an offering from Coveo Solutions Inc. X1 is the technology behind Yahoos desktop search application.
Wild cards in desktop search are the major desktop operating systems. Apple Computer Inc. already has built an advanced desktop search called Spotlight into its newest Mac OS X release.
Microsoft also has promised search improvements for Windows, though it remains unclear how extensive a role desktop search will play in Longhorn.
Desktop search also could become subsumed in larger enterprise search efforts, Feldman said. Already, search vendors such as Autonomy Corp. have added desktop components onto their broader offerings.
"My own feeling is that standalone desktop search in the next 10 years is going to become more a part of an enterprise work environment," Feldman said.
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