Google Desktop Plug-In Enables PDF Search

ScanSoft provides a plug-in that can scan text PDFs as well as index and search image-based documents such as faxes and paper scans.

The Google Desktop utility went live Monday, after about a six-month beta cycle. The 1.0 release supports PDF search, for the first time. Moreover, ScanSoft has brought to market a beta plug-in called OmniPage Search Indexer that not only supports PDFs containing text, but also can OCR and index image-based PDFs with scanned text and return the results on a locally served Google-type page.

"Were very pleased to be one of the first developers to work with Google and their new API to enable this," said Robert Weideman, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy for ScanSofts Productivity Applications Division.

/zimages/1/28571.gifeWEEK.coms Steven Vaughan-Nichols puts Google Desktop Search 1.0 through its paces. Read his review here.

Weideman added that OmniPage Search Indexer also handles other image file formats such as BMP, MAX and TIFF. "We see this as an important event [for ScanSoft] and one were evaluating, should we decide to support OmniPage Search Indexer with other desktop search products."

Thats likely to happen, Weideman said, because theres a need. Most companies that offer desktop search utilities—like Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves and Microsoft Corp.s MSN—live in the Internet search space, where there is little call for image-based document search, as most companies dont post faxes and scans of paper documents to the Web. So search vendors dont develop tools to search them.

When entering the desktop arena—where users need to tap into archives of image documents stored on hard drives or on company intranets—an image-based document search tool suddenly becomes important.

"While its rare that theres [scanned text documents] on the Web, its actually quite common that its on a persons PC," Weideman said. "Theres a big gap right now when the companies traditionally participating in the public Web search arena came to the desktop. ... If youre a lawyer, youre not posting contracts youve scanned in on your public Web site, but you definitely have them on your PC and in your network environment."

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